Aikman, who helped the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl champions during his legendary career, took offense at a roughing the passer call when Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones tackled Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr. It was the latest in a string of questionable calls by refs out to protect signal callers.
“I hope that the competition committee looks at this during the set of meetings and we take the dresses off,” said Aikman, 55, who was sacked 259 times in his career, and was known for his toughness.
Troy Aikman wants the NFL to “take the dresses off” and fix roughing the passer penalty pic.twitter.com/YY4MicVKvU
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 11, 2022
The penalty was critical, because Carr fumbled on the play. But Jones, who recovered the ball, fell on top of Carr and the refs blew the whistle. Although Kansas City still came from behind to win a thrilling 30-29 game, the play could easily have cost the Chiefs the victory.
A day before, the Atlanta Falcons’ Grady Jarrett was hit with the same penalty after what seemed like a perfectly legal hit on 45-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
After Aikman’s comment, Twitter was deluged with critics calling him a misogynist and some demanding that ESPN punish him.
“Troy Aikman really needs to find a non-misogynistic way to critique the call besides ‘take the dresses off,’” tweeted blue-check, self-described “Justice Journalist” Chuck Modi. “And I say this as someone who heard this misogyny normalized by coaches as a kid & even participated myself. Way past time to end such sports talk.”
— David Cone (@davidadamcone) October 11, 2022
“Did Troy Aikman really just say what I think he said?” tweeted Jason Page. “Did he really just say that it’s time for the league to ‘take the dresses off’? The 60’s called, they want their chauvinist back. Seriously ESPN … do better than that crap.”
“Don’t love aikman saying the players need to ‘take the dresses off,’” just say the call sucks my man,” tweeted Argus Leader journalist Trevor Mitchell.
But others defended Aikman and told his critics to lighten up.
“Can’t believe the number of people getting upset about Troy Aikman saying ‘take the dresses off,’” tweeted Scott Murphy. “Good Lord you tiny little people with tiny little brains. So easily bruised, so easily offended. You are truly what is wrong with the planet today.”