Former National Football League quarterback Tony Romo has joined the roster of sports broadcasters who have prompted social media ire after making what some consider an inappropriate or offensive on-air comment.
During the telecast of Sunday’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-3 victory over the Chicago Bears, Romo implied perhaps that the Bucs’ superstar signal-caller Tom Brady should give his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, something along the lines of a hall pass.
In context, Romo’s remarks came as CBS cameras cut to a team staffer interacting with the fan who was holding Brady’s 600th touchdown ball, an NFL record. Apparently unaware of the career milestone, wide receiver Mike Evans had tossed the pigskin into the crowd.
In an attempt at humor, Romo, who played for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 seasons, chimed in with an imaginary negotiating strategy between the fan and the staffer, which triggered some viewers.
“A date with Gisele. A date with Gisele, and I’m in. Okay, Tom will do it. One time, you got it.”
The Bucs had to negotiate to get Brady’s 600th TD ball back from a fan 😂 pic.twitter.com/31WAjBJVfU
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 24, 2021
Last year, Romo signed a new, 10-year contract with CBS that reportedly pays him $18 million per year for his work on NFL broadcasts, so it’s unlikely he will be canceled.
Perhaps representative of the sports media industry mindset in its current existence, Yahoo sports columnist Shalise Manza Young blasted Romo:
Gisele Bündchen is an incredibly accomplished woman, and in many parts of the world, she is more well-known and recognizable than her husband. She is a stalwart environmentalist, an activist for numerous other causes, a best-selling author, businesswoman and mother. But in an instant Sunday, she was reduced to a piece of property that should be passed around like a bowl of Halloween candy for … a piece of memorabilia…Because of course Brady would pimp out his wife of 12 years to a stranger for the all-important prize of a piece of cowhide. I mean, it’s football, and football is family, so what’s the big deal with handing family over in exchange for a little memorabilia, right?…
The fan, identified by multiple media outlets as Byron Kennedy, 29, handed over the ball to the staffer after a brief conversation.
In return, he received autographed jerseys, a helmet and a pair of game cleats, two free tickets for the remainder of this season and the entirety of the next one, and a $1,000 credit at the team souvenir store.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 20, 2021
“Brady also sweetened the deal by giving the fan a bitcoin, worth about $63,000,” the New York Post added.
According to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, the valuable piece of football property would have been worth about $500,000 on the open memorabilia market, and the fan should not have given up his leverage. “If Kennedy had held firm (or if he would have just gotten up and left the game with his half-million-dollar souvenir), he would have gotten a lot more.”
Twitter users are weighing in on both sides of the issue. Here is a sampling of the intense response:
Yeah, not OK with Romo’s comments. They’re sexist and demeaning. Giselle is not property that can just be passed around. Crude joke and just not funny.
— DemocratInDallas (@altfacts123) October 26, 2021
The remark about a “date with Gisele” was totally offensive and inappropriate. Romo insulted Tom, his wife and women in general with his comment. Romo needs to go away and the other guy laughing at the comment was so wrong.
— charanth04 #MyDogCanType #MaskUpPeeps (@charanth04) October 26, 2021
Give me a fu…….. break! Romo was having a little harmless fun with the situation! Remember when we lived in a world where you could joke…. PC is ruining that world. Everything is taken so literally & seriously!
— Bobby Morris (@bobbydog_morris) October 26, 2021
And it’s not out of the norm to say that men still find her attractive lol she’s an effing supermodel!
— Oceangrl191 (@Oceangrl191) October 27, 2021
A date with Gisele? Can we be more disrespectful @tonyromo ????
— Ang B. (@AngDB819) October 24, 2021
How can you people defend Romo’s comments. That was rude and disrespectful to Tom and Gisele. That’s why the movie was call “INDECENT” Proposal. Its indecent to suggest it.
— Wen (@realWen97) October 26, 2021
What if female fan got the ball, Romo comments about a date with Tom. Does everyone go binkers?
— James Fernella (@fernella_james) October 27, 2021
Joking about offering a date with someone’s wife?
— Dan Starkey (@danstarkey19) October 24, 2021
I dont think he said anything wrong or disrespectful, shes a beautiful woman jeezus get over it already, someone always has to make a fuss about something THATS NONE OF YOURS OR OUR DAMM BUSINESS ANYWAY
— Gigi Tinez (@gigi_tinez) October 27, 2021
It’s called a JOKE. Seeing people devoid of humor lose their mind over a goofy comment made by a color commentator on TV is kind of scary.
— Ilya (@IBF_007) October 26, 2021
Tony Romo suggesting Brady trade a date with his wife for his 600th TD ball is just weird/borderline creepy. Dude is a good broadcaster but so awkward sometimes
— Raj Chander (@raj_chander) October 24, 2021
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