The Washington Post

Tiki Barber creates a stir with Anne Frank comparison

Tiki, Tiki, Tiki.

Tiki Barber, the New York Giants running back who retired in 2006 and is looking to return to pro football if there’s ever a season, drew criticism for a comment he made recently to L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. He was asked about the media frenzy that was spawned when he left his wife, who was pregnant with twins, for his 23-year-old girlfriend. He coped with the intense pressure by going into hiding in the attic of his agent, Mark Lepselter.

“Lep's Jewish,” Barber said, “and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing.”

Lepselter defended Barber’s profound lapse in judgment in comparing himself to a Holocaust victim. Of course, this was the media’s fault.

“In a world where nothing surprises me, where things get completely blown out of proportion, this only adds to the list,” Lepselter said. “[Tiki] was shedding light on going back to that time when he was literally trapped, so to speak, in my attic for a week. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Let me remind all those who want to make this more than it is: Tiki was a guest of [president] Shimon Peres in Israel five years ago.”

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League called Barber’s comment “outrageous and perverse.”

“Holocaust trivialization continues to spread and finds new ways and expressions that shock the conscience,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor, said in a statement released by the ADL. “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.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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