Thursday, July 14, 2016

Miko Grimes and Anti-Semitic Statements

I was raised to believe that no matter what your family should be united against the outside world. So this means that if your brother gets into a fight with the local college football team you jump in to protect him even if he started it and was utterly in the wrong. If he gets his behind kicked then you'd better be right there on the floor taking the beating with him. If someone calls your sister stupid or otherwise insults her then you rise to her defense even if you think to yourself that the person making that statement may actually have a point. You can cuss out and fight with your relatives later. But if someone else bothers them then that someone else has a problem with you. And this would obviously go double for your husband or your wife. After all you took a vow which, depending on when you were married, probably included some language about forsaking all others, honoring, obeying, and/or protecting your spouse in sickness and health, in good times and bad until you are separated by death. That's not just boilerplate. It's pretty serious stuff. You're taking an oath, after all. None of these ties and bonds, whether familial or romantic, mean that you are always going to like your family or your nookie providers or agree with them. You may well believe that a relative had to have been dropped on their head as a child to be so dumb or idly wonder if your spouse will indeed bequeath an unpleasant trait to your children. But it's your right to have and express those beliefs, no one else's. I'm not going to publicly criticize or distance myself from family even if I think they are 100% offbase. I'll have a discussion with them in private about what I think they're doing wrong. I'm not going to criticize family because an outsider says I should. But I am not married to Miko Grimes, who has a history of statements and actions which would sorely test my commitment to handling family business behind closed doors.
Miko Grimes, the wife of former Miami Dolphins and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes, blasted Miami brass on Monday, using anti-Semitic language that she later tried to clarify. In a tweet referencing Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, Miko Grimes tweeted:

Gotta respect ross for keeping his jew buddies employed but did he not see how tannenbaum put the jets in the dumpster w/that sanchez deal?

Reached by the Tampa Bay Times, Miko Grimes remained adamant that the insult was only directed at two people and that no one else should be offended by what she said. "What would I have against Jewish people?" she wrote to theTimes in an exchange Monday afternoon. "Why is this the first time I'm being called anti-Semitic, as big as my mouth is, if I really have an issue with Jewish people? Is anything I said false? Do Jewish, Catholic, Christian and frat brothers, etc. hire their own people? … I was intending to offend the Dolphins, specifically Stephen Ross and Mike Tannenbaum. Anyone else that chooses to dive in front of those bullets is their own fault."

Asked about the insinuation that someone would get a job only because of religious ties, she did not back down from her stance. "If you are a GM in the NFL and you happen to be Jewish, nine times out of 10 you will get another job if fired because the majority of the owners are Jewish and 'rumor has it' Jewish people take care of their own," she wrote. "I'm actually quite envious of them. I think it's dope!" The comment was picked up by several national sports sites and ESPN, and the nature of the "Jew buddies" comment has relevance with the Bucs because the Glazer family, which has owned the team since 1995, is Jewish. Bucs co-chair Bryan Glazer last year donated $4 million to a new Jewish Community Center in West Tampa that will carry his family's name. The Bucs were aware of the comment Monday but had no immediate response.

Leaving aside the substance of Miko Grimes' comments for now, statements attacking alleged Jewish excessive clannishness are indeed often meant and experienced as anti-semitic insults. There's no way that an adult does not know that in 2016. And even if Miko Grimes didn't mean it that way and (insert eyeroll) was just trying to start a serious conversation about (ahem) having a more diverse hiring profile in the NFL, using the term "Jew buddies" isn't the way to go about that. This is especially the case when her husband's new bosses, the people who sign his checks, happen to be Jewish. This isn't the first time that Mrs. Grimes has had some outrageous stuff to say. Her self-described big mouth is part of the reason her husband now works for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead of the Miami Dolphins. But this is the big leagues. Racial comments and slurs are not exactly unknown in professional football, in the locker room or out of it. NFL owners and for that matter players can be quite tolerant of bad behavior or loose talk provided they believe that a player can help the team win. Just ask Riley Cooper.  However Brent Grimes is on the downside of his career. He's not as quick or as fast as he used to be. He will likely soon transition out of the NFL. While I wouldn't say Grimes is a marginal player I would say he's at the point where a team might think twice about adding him and his loose cannon wife to the payroll. The competitive benefit might not outweigh the off field headaches. I don't think that the NFL or the Bucs can or should fine Brent Grimes because of what his wife said. She's her own woman. She doesn't work for the NFL. But NFL or not, making public derogatory comments about your spouse's new boss's ethnicity or religion is just not a very smart move in any business setting. Now every relationship is different. We don't know if Miko is speaking for herself or if she's saying things Brent wishes he could say. If I were Brent at the very least I would probably have a short blunt conversation with the wife on things we don't say in public.

What's your take? Should people be responsible for their spouse's statements?

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