Prior to his being picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday, several media outlets reported that teams were passing over former Miami Dolphins CB Brent Grimes because teams didn’t want to deal with his wife. Grimes was cut Wednesday by the Dolphins after trade attempts failed, reportedly because the Twitter tirades — against Grimes’ teammates, members of the media and general public — and other public antics of wife Miko Grimes are off-putting to front offices.
Mrs. Grimes has made public comments about her own bedroom activities and has gone on vulgar tirades against the league. She has lamented being put “in this mold of a football wife,” because, she said, “everyone’s different.” But what exactly is that mold of a football wife? She has previously said she sees herself as being the voice her for her husband on issues he can’t or won’t publicly comment. She’s been very critical of his teammates in public. To her, she is supporting and helping her husband. She doesn’t want to be a role model, she wants to speak her mind. And some of her comments have been valid, particularly her criticisms of the NFL and its lack of regard for player welfare. Up until last October, she co-hosted a radio show in the Miami area in which she helped break down Dolphins games. She isn’t some attention-whore airhead; she knows what she’s talking about. And, in reality, the things she says publicly on Twitter are probably not all that different than what many of us say privately.
The entire issue with her antics is that they have become a hindrance to her husband’s brand and career. Her husband, who is a top-shelf, perennial Pro Bowl corner, was reportedly passed over by three teams because they didn’t want to accept his (wife’s) baggage. This is a guy who has otherwise steered clear of trouble and appears to be a pretty nice guy.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Ayesha Curry, who seems to do nothing but enhance her husband’s brand. She and her husband, Golden State Warriors PG Steph, are media darlings, they hang out with Black royalty. USA Today recently crowned them “the coolest couple on the planet.” They make silly videos and promote a brand that is very family-oriented, very Christian. In stark contrast to Grimes’ sometimes lewd and aggressive public comments, Curry projects a very wholesome, demure image. (In fact, her biggest controversy was over saying she preferred “to keep the good stuff covered for the one who matters,” which sent outraged Internet feminists into a tizzy over contrived notions of slut-shaming and respectability politics.) She seems to have fully embraced her role as complement to her husband’s career and his brand.
But the real question here is what is the role of a football — or basketball — wife?
It’s easy to paint Mrs. Curry as the perfect picture of womanhood and Mrs. Grimes as the classless foil to that image. But if team execs have an issue with Mrs. Grimes, but her husband doesn’t, is she really in the wrong here? Sure, she’s lewd and loud and perhaps relatable to the women on shows like “Basketball Wives” (see what I did there?). But her husband has repeatedly said he doesn’t want her to be anything but her authentic self. And most of her actions seem to be, at least in her mind, on his behalf. She isn’t publicly berating him; she is supporting and standing up for him. Miami sports writer (and Mrs. Grimes’ former radio co-host) Omar Kelly said Brent wouldn’t be where he is without her.
So while my personal preference is that women maintain a respectable public image and refrain from drawing negative attention to themselves — I’m a big Ayesha Curry fan, even if I think daughter Riley needs to be reined in a little — maybe we can’t really knock Mrs. Grimes here.