It may be the quickest backtrack in the history of sports. Only minutes after complaining about New York Giants fans booing players, and comparing those players to returning Iraqi War veterans, Antrel Rolle shoved his foot as far back in his mouth as far as possible.
On Thursday, when asked what he thought about fans booing, Rolle responded by making an odd comparison:
They want to make it that guys paid this much money for a ticket. Yeah, I understand that, I understand completely. We risk ourselves out there on the field each and every day also. When soldiers come home from Iraq you don't boo them. I look at it the same way. I take my job seriously.
Just minutes later, he realized what he had said and backtracked:
I gave the analogy as far as when you have troops coming from Iraq they don’t get booed. And you know, it’s not even a comparable analogy. You cannot remotely compare what we do as opposed to what they do. They’re fighting for our freedom, they’re fighting for our country, We’re out there playing a game. At the end of the day, it’s a game. We get paid a lot of money, I understand that. But at the end of the day it’s a game.
But the damage was already done. Despite rescinding his analogy, the team forced him to issue an official apology:
"I used a very poor, inappropriate example earlier today to demonstrate how seriously I take my job. Obviously there is no comparison between the men and women of our military putting their life on the line defending our country and what I do.
"They risk their lives and that gives me the opportunity to play a game for a living. After I made my earlier comments, somebody even said to me: how would your father, who is the chief of police in Homestead (Fla.) and puts himself at risk every day, feel about the comparison you made? Again, it was a very poor, very inappropriate choice of words."
The New York media did not take kindly to Rolle's statement. In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, writer Gary Myers took Rolle to task:
Antrel Rolle has been a very good addition to the Giants' secondary this season, but if he doesn't develop a filter between his brain and his mouth, he's going to talk his way right out of town. ...The more Rolle talks, the deeper the hole his tongue digs. Of course, he did offer an apology/clarification later in the day Thursday, but what comes out first often represents true feelings and what comes out next is the result of a huge public relations machine trying to minimize the backlash
Rolle's comments Thursday were the result of a controversy that started Monday. Then, he attacked Giants fans for recently booing the team during a home game: