Tiki Barber made his Today show debut this week and, according to Adam Duerson of SI.com, was not exactly ready for the pressure of covering the massacre at Virginia Tech, fumbling (sorry) a key segment:
I’ll say this much: Tiki’s not a reporter yet. (Granted, neither were many of the alleged reporters we saw jabbing microphones in the faces of grieving family members and VT students. One reporter asked a student how he felt when people called him a hero. The poor kid just wept for 30 seconds before CNN finally cut away. Classy, guys.)
Tiki wasn’t ready for this — and there’s no way he could have been. I have no doubt he would have hit Buckingham out of the park, but he has a long way to come as a serious reporter and NBC certainly would have been better off letting him sit out the road trip. That’s not a knock. This probably isn’t how he wanted to start his career anyway. And he’ll learn. He’ll learn not to blink so damn much. He’ll learn to do some actual reporting. (He sat in a bar and asked kids how they felt. Nothing new.) And he’ll learn, say, to come a little more prepared for a simple question about the atmosphere in Blacksburg. His response, “It was almost weird.” I would hope so, Tiki. At the very least, Tiki has the look down. He looks damn good in a beige trench coat. The rest will come eventually.
It made sense to try it, considering Tiki’s a Roanoke, Virginia native and University of Virginia alum.