ESPN.com news services
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was videotaped mocking a man of Asian heritage at a Foxborough, Mass., bar last week, the latest NFL player whose racially insensitive comments have made their way into the public eye.
The Patriots were on their bye week at the time.
Gronkowski was heard on a tape posted by TMZ Sports mocking a man wearing Gronkowski’s No. 87 jersey.
“They told me he could only cook fried rice,” Gronkowski said into a microphone at the club. He then called the man “Leslie Chow,” the Asian character played by Ken Jeong in the “Hangover” movies. Then on the video, a person involved with the event reminds those in attendance that cell phone video is to be left with organizers.
The video comes less than four months after Philadelphia Eagles receiver Riley Cooper was caught using the N-word at a concert. Last week, it was leaked to the media that Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito sent text messages and voice mails including racial slurs to teammate Jonathan Martin.
Cooper was fined, but not suspended by the league, for his actions. Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins, and Martin has left the team. ESPN reported Monday that Martin is not expected to return this season.
Gronkowski has made his way into tabloid media on a few other occasions.
He was shown dancing shirtless in a Las Vegas nightclub earlier this year while wearing a cast on his left forearm, which had been broken twice — causing him to miss, among other things, the Patriots’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC title game. Gronkowski also was seen dancing at a post-Super Bowl XLVI party, hours after an ankle injury had limited his performance during New England’s 21-17 loss to the New York Giants.
In 2011, he apologized after photos of him with a porn star showed up on the woman’s Twitter feed. There were reports in 2012 that said the team had asked Gronkowski to tone down his behavior.