Darren Rovell has gotten himself into a fight that he does not want to be a part of. The ESPN business analyst has a history of putting his own foot in his mouth. He was once suspended for making fun of a Bulls fan by posting a picture of the fan and captioning it with the price of two front-row tickets. On several occasions he’s been called out for inappropriately-timed, tone-deaf tweets, like pointing out a player’s monetary value to a team immediately after suffering a brutal injury or talking about sponsorships during a murder trial.
Rovell was at it again on Tuesday, this time taking an unintentional shot at Detroit Lions tackle Taylor Decker:
Winner in last night's Cowboys-Lions game? Former teammate & offensive lineman who traded his jersey for Zeke's pic.twitter.com/rF9bSobKwV— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 28, 2016
Rovell insinuates that Decker somehow “won” this transaction between two friends because Ezekiel Elliott has more value. This is insulting for several reasons. This is not a monetary transaction between the two people. These are college teammates and friends sharing a moment now that the two first-round draft picks are living their dream in the NFL.
Also, I don’t think Decker felt like he was winning anything in this moment. He had just lost a huge game for the Lions and almost certainly did not feel like a winner because he had just traded for a “$25,000 jersey”. Even former Lions offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz was insulted by that:
Yes the losing player "won" by getting a jersey of his buddy because it has value hanging in his basement. Sure. https://t.co/1UAvav1Mqc— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) December 28, 2016
But neither of those offenses were why Decker was offended by the tweet. Instead, he, rightfully, had issue with Rovell referring to Ezekiel Elliott by his name, but to Decker only by “offensive lineman.”
I have no name https://t.co/ME0U6VsUbH— Taylor Decker (@TDeck68) December 28, 2016
Rovell responded by trying to joke with Decker, by responding “you do, it’s on your jersey.” But Rovell, per usual, misread the situation, and Decker was not having any of his playful jokes:
@darrenrovell nah man, you can't throw a pity tweet at me after completely disregarding me around Zeke, who has been my friend for years.— Taylor Decker (@TDeck68) December 28, 2016
Kudos to Decker for standing up for himself here. He’s accomplished a lot already in his young NFL career, and doesn’t deserve to be back-seated to his friend just because more people are noticing Elliott’s accomplishments.
Rovell is just one of millions of people who don’t see actual people under the football jersey but simply valued commodities. It’s really a sad state of affairs when someone like that is not only considered a success in his field, but is propped up by the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Hopefully players like Decker continue to stand up and put people like him in their place.