Tiki Barber: Russell Wilson 'can't help' his background

2:45 | NFL
Tiki Barber weighs in on Russell Wilson 'not black enough' talk
Thursday October 23rd, 2014

Tiki Barber believes  Seattle's locker room talk about whether quarterback Russell Wilson is "black enough" has been misrepresented and taken out of context by the media and the public, the former running back said in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Thursday.

Reports that some Seahawks players had differing opinions on Wilson's race emerged after receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets.

The trade appeared to reveal rifts in the locker room, with some players upset about Harvin's trade, and some frustrated with Wilson.

Jets quarterback Michael Vick: Percy Harvin 'won't be a monster here'

Earlier this week, Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman shared his impression -- backed up, he said, by discussions with Seattle players -- that some of Wilson's teammates did not feel Wilson was black enough.

Barber sought to put the comments in proper context:

"This was an intimation. It wasn't an outright report. It was an inference on talking to players in that locker room," Barber said.

"It's half joking. It's locker room talk. It's why a lot of the conversation that exists behind closed doors shouldn't be consumed by the public, because it can be taken so completely out of context."

Seahawks' Russell Wilson: 'There is no division in our locker room'

He added that the comments about Wilson, as well as Seattle's locker room chemistry, only gained notice because of the team's performance on the field.

"The reason this is an issue right now is because Seattle is 3-3, they're trending to mediocrity, and we all as a consuming public and media are saying, what is the reason?

"[Sometimes] we offer whatever excuse seems possible. "He doesn't fit in with us, he's too tight with the front office, he's not black enough, whatever the hell that means."

Barber made a point to say that it was not on Wilson to explain or compensate for his background.

"Russell Wilson can't help where he grew up and how he was nurtured. He went to Collegiate School, which is a prep school Richmond. His dad was a lawyer, his grandfather was the president of Norfolk State. That's who he is and who he was. And you can't hide that."

Seattle is just six games removed from an imposing Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos, a championship finish to a 13-3 season.

Seattle has already lost three games this season, including two losses by a total of nine points in its two most recent games against the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams.

The Seahawks are currently third in the NFC West, behind the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. The team will visit the Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon.

- Christopher Woody


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