Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tirico won't talk about his race: 'Why should anyone care about identifying?'

Alex Reimer
July 17, 2017 - 4:17 pm

Mike Tirico doesn’t want to talk about his race. The veteran sports broadcaster has always brushed off questions about his racial heritage, ever since he told the Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y. he wasn’t sure he was black. 

So naturally, it’s been a topic that’s followed Tirico around for almost the entirety of his nearly 30-year career. He insists he was born to an Italian mother, and that’s all of the information he’s typically willing to divulge. 

The question is revisited again in a recent New York Times profile about Tirico, who’s slated to host the Winter Olympics on NBC next year. He’ll also host the British Open this week, before taking over for Al Michaels on “Thursday Night Football.” 

When asked about his refusal to describe himself as anything beyond “mixed race,” Tirico said he refuses to align himself with one particular group.

“Why do I have to check any box?” he asked. “If we live in a world where we’re not supposed to judge, why should anyone care about identifying?”

Some of Tirico’s ex-colleagues at ESPN have criticized his approach. Bomani Jones said Tirico is “literally” the only person alive to believe he’s not black, whereas Pablo S. Torre offered to “televise a discussion about race through the prism of Mike Tirico.”

It is odd that Tirico still keeps his race to himself, considering it only further fuels speculation and discussion. If Tirico wants to quell the topic once and for all, he should just address the question head on. Then everybody would move on.

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