ESPN’s Herm Edwards, John Salley Get Weird With Rob Gronkowski Roast Criticism

BOSTON (CBS) — Rob Gronkowski caught some heat — but not too much heat — for some off-color jokes he made during the roast of David Ortiz last week. There was a reaction, but nobody was really freaking out about it.

That, of course, didn’t stop ESPN’s “First Take” from treating it like the biggest story in the world.

With Herm Edwards filling in one of the regular chairs, the former coach used the moment as an opportunity to pontificate. Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb broke it down on Wednesday morning.

“[Edwards] is just outraged by everything, and he makes these faces, and he’s giving a motivational speech every time he talks. It’s really not good broadcasting,” Fred said.

As an example, from part of some very lengthy commentary from Edwards:

“As a man … as men … you have an obligation to decide certain things you’ll do, certain things you won’t do. I’ve always said this, you know, we have choices. We’re a collection of our choices. I choose to be a man of integrity, by the way. My words and my life will match up. And if I’m about to do something that’s going to tarnish my integrity — whether it’s at a roast or whether it’s at a wedding, whether it’s when I walk out of this studio — I’m going to go, ‘I’m not going down that road!’ Because that’s what I believe. That’s what I believe! Eventually you have to grow up! You have to decide, you know what, maybe at 28, you can still have fun, but there are certain things where you can say, ‘You know, I don’t need to do that. I don’t need to do that.'”

“What — the charity event for David Ortiz?” Fred asked.

“Raising money for a good cause?” Rich echoed.

Edwards got so lost in his own thoughts that he started, according to Fred, “losing control of his argument and does not come off well.”

From Edwards:

“He’s missed five games! He’s averaging five missed games in the last five years. And guess what? Eventually — eventually … this is a big year for Gronk, by the way. He’s got this year and he’s got two more years on his contract, when it really becomes a lot of money. This year he’s only getting $5 million. If he gets hurt again, he might not even be with the Patriots.”

That is relevant to an on-stage comedic roast … how? Is it dangerous to deliver jokes on stage? Is that an injury risk?

But wait! Just when you thought Edwards’ point couldn’t be any more ridiculous, John Salley (also filling in) brought race into the equation.

“Joe Namath partied. [Terry] Bradshaw. Quarterbacks can do what they want,” Salley said. “Gronk is playing a position — because we have to bring it — that’s usually the position of the big, fast, black guy. But now he’s athletic.”

Huh?

Salley kept going, with seemingly no direction at all:

“He can play, his brothers are cool, he doesn’t mind partying, he doesn’t mind being in it, he doesn’t mind celebrating with his audience. That’s the difference. Right? He’s known for celebrating with his audience, somebody they can relate to. He’s not a church-goer, he’s not the guy who sits around and walks places with his daughters, he’s not that person. So while he’s this person, the athlete mentality or the savage mentality, he’s playing directly into what we see in movies. We see that in movies, the football player that’s crazy that grabs a keg and drinks — he is that guy. So he is outside what people want him to be. Back to this roast, I worked on doing comedy. I did stand-up. I worked at it. It’s the hardest job I have ever had, trying to make somebody laugh. Coach was right about that. He will know next time when someone writes in front of him, read it and then think it’s coming out of your mouth. That’s all you have to do.”

It’s almost unbelievable to witness these people speaking so many words over the course of so many minutes without actually saying anything at all.

Listen to the audio above to hear Fred and Rich react to the nonsense.

More from Toucher and Rich
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