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Hold The Phone - Mike Tirico Isn't Black?

Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY)
May 30, 1991
Edition: Metro
Section: Living
Page: C1 

Local African-American groups often invite him to speak during Black History Month and on other occasions, viewing Tirico as a prominent example of a successful black professional. He doesn’t mind speaking, Tirico tells them, but he also lets them know a fact of his life: He’s not sure he’s black. “When people go around and say, ‘You are black’ – well, I don’t encourage it, but by the same token I don’t back off of it,” he says. “If you want to call me that, that’s fine. But, you know, in my whole family, there’s nobody I know who is black.” Raised in Queens Michael Todd Tirico grew up in a middle-class Italian family in Queens, about a five-minute drive from Shea Stadium. Tirico’s parents, Donald and Maria, were separated when he was about 4, and he says he has since lost contact with his father’s side of the family. Tirico is an only child. Because of his dark skin and ethnic features, Tirico says, most people assume he is black. But he’s seen pictures of his father, his father’s mother and his father’s sister – all of whom are white, Tirico says. “The only contact I had growing up was with my mom’s side of the family. And they are all as white as the refrigerator I’m standing in front of right now,” Tirico says, standing in his kitchen in the Clay townhouse where he lives. Someday, he says, he plans to do genealogical research to find out if he has a black ancestor, but it’s not something he considers a pressing issue. Tirico concedes, though, that his uncertain ethnicity sometimes makes other uncomfortable. Even skeptical. “I know the story sounds like a lot of bull, but it’s the truth” he says. “Does it matter to me? Yeah, I’d like to find out the truth at some point, so I can answer questions for my kids. But me? I’m living, I’m working, I’m leading an upstanding life. I don’t worry about it.”

If I’m reading this correctly – and I’m pretty sure I am – apparently Mike Tirico expects me to believe he’s just an Italian guy from Queens. Are you fucking kidding me Mike! What the fuck is going on here? You expect me to take one look at this picture:

and say you’re not a black man? You think I’m gonna believe you’re a guinea from Queens? For sure not. I know your last name is Tirico. But I also work with a guy named Feitelberg who is not Jewish and a guy named MacGregor that is Jewish. Just because your name isn’t Kunta Kinte doesn’t mean you ain’t black.

Lets just say, for argument’s sake, Mike Tirico ain’t black. Lets just say he’s an I-talian from Queens with a nice tan and some nappy hair because he’s from Sicily or something. What an UNBELIEVABLE racial heist he’s been pulling. If the Racial Draft from Chappelle’s Show was a reality, Mike Tirico is the Jerry West of shrewd racial life decisions. Secretly letting everyone believe he’s black is the most diabolical move the entertainment world has ever seen. Just letting the NAACP give him awards and shit every year. Checking off “African American” on every application he’s ever filled out. Yet when you ask him about it, he will point blank tell you everyone in his family is whiter than cream cheese. Play on, playa! Snake it till you make it! Mike Tirico is a fucking white guy! Short of Jeff Van Gundy telling me he’s black, thats probably the most shocking thing I’ve ever heard in the world of sports broadcasting. Just an absolutely hilarious and mind altering piece of information.


Monday Night Football will never be the same. Now that I’m envisioning Mikey Tirico from Queens, New York instead of an Uncle Tom black guy. As far as I’m concerned he’s an entirely new person.