Rob Gronkowski of New England Patriots Faces Backlash for 69 Joke to Female Reporter at Super Bowl

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NEW YORK (WFAN.com) -- New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski's "man-child" act went too far at Super Bowl Opening Night, WFAN's "Carlin, Maggie and Bart" show said Tuesday.

Chris Carlin said reading the following excerpt from a New York Post article "ticked me off to no end."

After Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said there is “zero” chance Sunday’s game would be his final game, a reporter asked Gronkowski what number he would say about the chance this is his farewell.

“You guys know my favorite number,” Gronkowski said. “You know what I’m talking about. She knows what number I’m talking about [pointing to a reporter>. Ask her. That’s the answer.”

"He's obviously making a stupid 69 joke, but you're going to point to a female reporter in that setting and say 'ask her?'" Carlin said. "Do whatever you want, dude. Just don't be disrespectful in that setting."

Carlin later clarified his stance on Twitter after learning Gronkowski picked out the reporter after seeing her laughing at his insinuations.

"I think there has been a pass that's been given to Rob Gronkowski for a really long time," Maggie Gray added. "I think part of the pass that he gets comes with the fact he is doing this and really doesn't have anything in his past or in his private life that would indicate he actually has an issue. It just seems like an act."

"Workplace etiquette, right?" said Bart Scott, a former New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens linebacker. "He has to understand that this is business time, it's workplace time, that you can't go that route. It's not the time or the place."

Gray shared a story about when she interviewed Gronkowski about his book, which included a bunch of "ridiculous stories." Among them, Gronkowski wrote that he had a house in college with a hot tub that was underneath a tree. Women who wanted to get into the hot tub had to remove their underwear and throw it in the tree.

After the interview, Gronkowski's father asked Gray if her underwear was in the tree, she said.

"That's the father maybe setting the tone for the rest of the guys in the family," she said.  "I haven't really been a fan of the Gronkowskis ever since."

Dan, the eldest of the five Gronkowski brothers, defended Rob's remarks on Wednesday morning on WEEI's "Mut & Callahan Show." 

"That’s ridiculous," Dan Gronkowski said of the criticism. "You have to put yourself in his shoes. He gets asked that question every single day."

Certainly, it wasn't the first time Gronk made a 69 joke. After he scored his 68th career touchdown in 2016, he said at a news conference: "One more, I got 69 touchdowns, if you know what I mean. Only you know what I mean, baby," he said to one reporter.

Last year, Gronkowksi placed a $69 Belmont Stakes bet on Gronkowski, the racehorse named after him that he co-owns.

Gronkowski's Patriots meet the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Super Bowl LIII.