ESPN analyst Ryan Clark made some cracks about the Miami Dolphins quarterback during 'NFL Live,' comparing his lower body to a dancer's in a strip club
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa does not appreciate being made fun of on live TV and says "respect is everything."
During a press conference on Wednesday, the 25-year-old addressed some recent comments made by ESPN analyst Ryan Clark about his offseason training appearance.
Clark, 43, had made some cracks about Tagovailoa during NFL Live, saying he looked like he had been spending more time in a tattoo parlor than the gym.
"Let me tell you what he wasn't doing. He wasn't in the gym, I'll bet you that," Clark began. "He might spend a lot of time in the tattoo parlor. He was not at the dinner table eating what the nutritionist had advised. He looks happy. He is thick."
"He's built like a girl working at Onyx in Atlanta right now on the bottom," Clark added, referencing a strip club, with his co-hosts laughing throughout.
When reporters specifically asked Tagovailoa, during a press conference on Wednesday, about his offseason training and how hard he works, Tagovailoa responded, "I think we all worked hard throughout the offseason," CNN reported. "I'm not one to talk about myself the entire time, but I mean, it takes a lot."
"You think I wanted to build all this muscle? Like, to some extent I wanted to be a little lighter," continued Tagovailoa. "I know there's a mixture of things that people don't understand, that people don't know about, that are talked about that go behind the scenes."
"So, you know, I'd appreciate if you kept my name out your mouth. That's what I'd say."
The star athlete also discussed Clark more directly during the press conference.
"I mean, he probably knows more about me that I know about myself. I don't know, Ryan's been out of the league for some time," he said of the former NFL Safety. "I don't know, it's a little weird when people are talking about other people when they're not that person. Just a little weird. I come from a Samoan family — respect is everything."
USA Today reported that Tagovailoa added during the press conference that he's of "tough-minded" people who can "get scrappy" if needed.
"But it does get to a point where, hey, a little easy on that buddy," he said, per the outlet. "I think we're pretty tough-minded people. And if we need to get scrappy, we can get scrappy, too."
Clark has since said that the comments were a "joke" and has received backlash on X (formerly Twitter) by numerous people calling him out for body-shaming.
"I 100% take accountability for it!! I said it!! I meant it!! It was a joke!! If asked why I said it by Tua I would tell him. I have 0 issues looking a man in the eye and telling my truth. I accept any consequence," said a post Clark wrote in reply to user on X.
"Lolol!! The funniest part about this is the fact that I spent the entire pure analysis praising Tua for proving that if he’s healthy he can flat out do it… And saying Miami has what they need to compete," he responded to another user. "But Miami Fans are so used to defending him they care about a joke in response to a comment about Tattoos more."
Lolol!! The funniest part about this is the fact that I spent the entire pure analysis praising Tua for proving that if he’s healthy he can flat out do it… And saying Miami has what they need to compete. But Miami Fans are so used to defending him they care about a joke in… https://t.co/emrQB4lkoY
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) August 23, 2023
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Ahead of the 2023 season, Tagovailoa admitted he had thought about retirement after suffering from multiple concussions last season.
"I considered it for a time," the University of Alabama alum said in April at a press conference. "Having sat down with my family, having sat down with my wife and having those kinds of conversations."
"But, really, it would be hard for me to walk away from this game," he shared. "With how old I am; with my son — I always dreamed of playing as long as I could, to where my son knew exactly what he was watching his dad do."
"It's my health. It's my body," Tagovailoa added. "I feel like this is what's best for me and my family. I love the game of football. If I didn't, I would have quit a long time ago."
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