Sunday, September 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones: Bucs' silence on Miko Grimes may not be the best tactic

Miko Grimes is the wife of new Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes and she has opinions. Lots and lots of opinions.

About football. About life. About everything.

Her comments are often vulgar, rude and crude. Her language is not safe for work.

Much of what she says can be dismissed as the rants of a celebrity wannabe. Most of what she says is, and should be, ignored.

Until she crosses the line and makes anti-Semitic remarks as she did on Twitter this week. Then it absolutely should not be ignored. Then it's everyone's responsibility to call her out, including fans, the media and, especially, the organization that employs her husband.

To ignore such views is to be complicit in her discrimination — and that goes for all of us.

A review: Grimes went on Twitter and insulted the Dolphins, the team that used to employ her husband. While trying to take a shot at Dolphins owners Stephen Ross, she accused Ross of hiring "Jew buddies."

Anytime you negatively identify someone by their race, religion, sex or sexual preference, you're a bigot.

She later told the Tampa Bay Times that she was merely pointing out that people tend to hire those from similar religious or ethnic backgrounds. She went on to say that, "Rumor has it, Jewish people take care of their own."

Whether born of ignorance or bigotry, perpetuating such stereotypes is hate speech. To bury our heads in the sand or to slough it off as nothing more than some nut job spouting off is irresponsible. Then we are all to be blamed for allowing this kind of divisive attitude.

The Bucs should be out front on this, leading the way by sending the message that this kind of thinking should never be tolerated. Not because the Bucs' owners are Jewish, but because it's the right thing to do and because their stance carries weight.

You can understand why the Bucs might be hesitant to speak out. For starters, Miko Grimes is not employed by the Bucs. Should the Bucs comment every time a player's wife or father or cousin or brother says something controversial?

But do not think for a second that this doesn't reflect back on the organization. The Grimes story has gone national, with media across the country writing about it. In every one of those stories, the Tampa Bay Bucs are mentioned by name.

The Bucs signed Brent Grimes knowing full well that his wife was a wild card. But they ignored any potential problems because Grimes was better at covering wide receivers than anyone on their roster. He will help them win football games and, based on previous comments about his wife, that's all that general manger Jason Licht and coach Dirk Koetter seem to care about.

There are more reasons why the Bucs would rather just stay quiet. Maybe they don't want to give the story more legs by commenting. Maybe they don't want to empower Grimes' words by giving them enough credence to acknowledge them. Maybe, privately, they've told Grimes to stop being so public with her outrageous remarks and would be considered hypocritical by publicly scolding her.

Maybe they don't want to be in the business of responding to every single thing Grimes says or else that's all they would do.

All valid points. And, clearly, Grimes has put the Bucs — as well as her husband, who has yet to play a down in Tampa Bay — in an impossible situation.

The Bucs look irresponsible by not saying anything, yet would open up a can of worms by saying anything.

It just feels like, at the end of the day, the Bucs would be smart to publicly condemn what Grimes said.

Just say, "We've read Miko Grimes' comments. Even though Mrs. Grimes is not our employee, we're disappointed in her views about Jewish people, as well her attacks on a fellow NFL owner. They don't reflect our thoughts."

That's it. That's all.

Please don't suggest that Grimes is merely exercising her First Amendment rights to free speech. No one is suggesting that she be thrown in jail. Not one is even suggesting that the Bucs should cut her husband — yet. But the First Amendment doesn't mean there are no consequences to saying whatever you want.

Certainly, the Bucs don't condone what Grimes tweeted. The Glazers likely are more wounded and disgusted than anyone. This is an ownership group that donated $4 million to a Jewish Community Center in Tampa. It would be wrong to suggest they are not sensitive to their Jewish fan base. Of course they are.

But fans lash out at Grimes and she taunts them. The media criticize her and she attacks them. Her husband, it would appear, stays completely out of it.

Maybe the Bucs are the only ones who could get the point across to Grimes that her words were hateful and hurtful.

Maybe, at the very least, they could get her to think before she speaks. Or tweets.

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