"Lep's Jewish," Barber allegedly said, "and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing."
Um, yeah. A millionaire pro football player comparing himself to a teenage Jewish Holocaust victim is going to go over about as well as Adrian Peterson's recent "modern-day slavery" comment, but at least Peterson had a bit of context with which to defend himself. Barber's comment was thoughtless at best and asinine at worst. It's certainly the wrong step to take as Barber tries to rehab his image in the wake of professional and personal failures, and as he tried to convince people that he's got a legitimate future in the NFL as a comeback story.
Barber was never known as the most tactful sort; it's well-known that his way of doing things put off some of his old teammates, especially when he questioned the leadership of the Giants quarterback as a member of the media as opposed to a guy in the locker room who would have to answer for his words. And his concept of himself as a future media magnate hasn't gone as expected. But this is a larger bump in the road. Judging from initial reactions, Barber, who is an NFL analyst for Yahoo! Sports, will have quite a time living this down.
"Holocaust trivialization continues to spread and finds new ways and expressions that shock the conscience," Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said. "Tiki Barber's personal behavior is his business. But our history and experiences are ours and deserve greater respect than being abused or perverted by Tiki Barber.
"The analogy to Anne Frank is not funny, it is outrageous and perverse. Anne Frank was not hiding voluntarily. Before she perished at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she hid from the Nazis for more than two years, fearing every day for her life. The Frank family's experiences, as recorded in Anne's dairy, are a unique testimonial to the horrors of the Holocaust, and her life should never be debased or degraded by insensitive and offensive analogies."