July 17, 2017
: The NBC sportscaster Mike Tirico is still out here trying to deny his race. In a recent NY Times article Mike went out of his way to tell the newspaper that he’s NOT Black.
Here’s what they are reporting:
Which might prompt some viewers to wonder: Who is this Mike Tirico? That’s a tough question to answer.
Tirico will tell you he is an Italian guy from Queens, raised by a single mother, Maria. He played Little League baseball and loved watching and reading about sports. He loved talking about sports even more. He got his first insider’s view through a grandfather who worked at Shea Stadium, and who would sometimes let Tirico tag along.
But if you ask him deeper questions about his background, or about his being one of the most prominent broadcasters of African-American lineage on television, he doesn’t want to engage. He has been dealing with questions about his race for years, most of the time wearily.
Those questions stem from a 1991 profile of him in The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., when he was just starting his career. In that article, Tirico said he wasn’t sure if he was black.
Ever since, perhaps regretting offering even that small peek into his private life, he has preferred to avoid the subject. Though he once described his relatives as “as white as the refrigerator I’m standing in front of right now,” a Washington Post article in 1997 described Tirico as “the first black play-by-play man (with a little Italian heritage in the family tree) to handle a golf telecast.”
But these days, at a time when the nation is transfixed by a discussion of race relations, Tirico just doesn’t want to go there. He told me to say he was mixed race, and that was that.
“Why do I have to check any box?”