TAMPA — Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes has yet to start his first training camp with the Bucs, but his wife, Miko, is already making headlines for the wrong reasons.
Miko Grimes built a strong following on Twitter with blunt and outspoken opinions in Miami, even about her husband's former team, the Dolphins. It's not unusual for her to use vulgarities in interacting with followers.
But early Monday morning, she made an anti-Semitic comment about billionaire Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, now the Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations.
"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," she tweeted at 1:50 a.m. to her 16,000-plus followers, referring to former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.
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.
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 the Times 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!"
Brent Grimes played three seasons for the Dolphins, who released him this spring due in part to an expensive contract. The Bucs signed Grimes, who turns 33 next week, to a two-year contract worth $13.5 million plus incentives, including $7 million guaranteed. Grimes played with Bucs coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith with the Falcons, who have praised the skill he should bring at a position the Bucs struggled with last season.
Miko Grimes spent much of Monday blasting the Dolphins, especially quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and she has been careful to praise the Bucs by comparison, saying her husband can't wait to play for a real owner and general manager.
Her Twitter rants have been incendiary enough in the past that Ross suggested they played a role in the Dolphins' decision to release Brent Grimes.
"I think everybody knows what she represented," Ross told the Palm Beach Post in March. "I thought it was best that the Dolphins move on from Brent and Miko."
The Bucs made it clear upon Grimes' signing that they weren't concerned about the potential distraction of his wife.
"I think a bigger distraction is losing and not playing good defense," general manager Jason Licht said. "We had met Miko and (Brent and) his family and have enjoyed every minute of it. I don't see any problem. We didn't have any discussions about it, to be honest with you."
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.