Posted December 14, 2012

ESPN says Rob Parker’s comments on RG3 were ‘inappropriate’

NFL
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

ESPN on Thursday night acknowledged that network commentator Rob Parker’s racially charged comments on Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III were “inappropriate.”

“The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps,” ESPN director of communications David Scott tweeted.

Parker sparked a firestorm when he questioned Griffin’s race in a segment on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday.

“Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker asked.

The other ESPN panelists seemed uncomfortable, asking what that meant.

“He’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us,” Parker said. “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the kind of guy you want to hang out with, because he’s off to something else.”

Parker’s rationale for this was that Griffin’s fiancée is white and because there was “talk” that he is a Republican.

Parker’s comments came in response to a USA Today story in which Griffin said he didn’t want to be “defined” by his race.

“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said at the end of Wednesday’s post-practice news conference in reference to a question about Martin Luther King, Jr. “You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do.

“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”

Parker’s rant made fellow panelist Stephen A. Smith particularly uneasy.

“I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said.

“RGIII, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancée is none of our business, it’s irrelevant, he can live his life in whatever way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life, he can live his life.”


20 comments
Percy Pudpounder
Percy Pudpounder

Knock off the 1950's Race  Crap.  RGIII is a great player and very brigtht.

Cougarblue
Cougarblue

If a white guy had made such an idiotic statement, they would be arrested for a trumped up tax evasion offense, banned from all media, had effigies burned country wide and labeled a Nazi. Racism is horrible regardless of where it's found

mike8
mike8

Parker only stated what is being said by many. I disagree with Parker being suspended as well as his take from Griffin's comments. The guy seems to not want to be pigeon-holed or limited by the stays quo. He wants to seen as a quarterback that happens to be black and not the potential snuffing black quarterback. Griffin's comments were not the same as Tiger Woods'. Tiger seemed to distance himself from his skin color. I think both guys were trying to avoid the labels that people put on others. No one can honestly define the ins and outs of what a black person should or shouldn't be. Parker should be back at work today and griffin should keep being himself. 

2ndclarence
2ndclarence

Some of you making these knee jerk reactions...I think there's a fundamental lack of understanding about how blacks perceive and interact with one another in America. White folks are much more individualistic...partly because they have had that prerogative and partly because well that's how Caucasians have been historically...nomadic in nature. 

 

Anyway, calling RGIII a cornball is idiotic, but black folks do have a stronger sense of 'community' with one another...not necessarily about anything other than making sure you remain connected to who you are. And there are codes that suggest when someone tries to disassociate themselves from their blackness...mostly because white America has made that something to perceive as sullied and second-class. Don't kill the messenger, I didn't make society this way, I just have to live in it. And I have had the fortune of listening to four generations of my family who went through the things people try to say black people of the current day can't talk about...segregation, lynch mobs, etc. 

 

The POINT is, Parker's comments are barbershop-type comments. I think the difference is, well, many white people keep their true feelings hidden, which has become the status quo if you are a talking head: There is the standard TV speak and then there are the true feelings. When the truth comes out and it bleeds past 'TV speak' (more than just political correctness...it's PERCEIVED correctness), then people get in trouble. But if you get past some of the immediate whiplash, most of the telling stuff comes when people speak in this candor. THIS is the true honesty most folks have...the reality is though, we aren't trusted amongst one another to have the dialogue to actually ADDRESS those feelings. I hope RGIII is sincere about being himself and it is not a way of basically passively-aggressively distancing himself from the black community, which Tiger Woods infamously did with 'I'm Cablinasian'. There IS a method to this perceived madness people.

dlallen66
dlallen66

"down with the cause" ??? Time for you to come clean about what this "cause" is all about. Y'all got some secret society planning some anarchic takeover?  G3's more of a man now than Punk Parker will ever be.   

ajmall
ajmall

Way to help keep racism alive Rob. Hope ESPN is smart enough to fire you.

TheHistorian
TheHistorian

Actually, those comments by Parker are nothing more than vile racism that stereotype black Americans and appear to be a blatant attempt to keep others from leaving the plantation. MLK would be appalled. 

SteveMehlman1
SteveMehlman1

"I have a dream...where a man won't be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character..."   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

"Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?"  Rob Parker.

 

To use a sports analogy,  Parker couldn't carry RGIII's jock,  let alone MLK's.

amiezonio
amiezonio

We should not be defined by our color, conviction or race.He should not be allowed to go on air ever again for saying such an irresponsible and divisive comment. RG3 you're the man!

Steve52
Steve52

Easily the most ignorant, idiotic, misinformed, and pathetic comment I've ever heard on television. If Parker is not permanently fired, then ESPN is itself marked as a complete bunch of idiots. Wasn't that much of an RG3 fan before, but I am now!

Gary25
Gary25

The most disturbing part of this is the 'expectation' that RG3 or any other African-American would fit into a profile that this ESPN commentator feels they should be. 

When I woke up this morning, I was in America, where people have the freedom to make their own decisions.  To be taken to task for that is wrong. 

I  would say more but I believe that Stephen A. made the point quite eloquently, as he usually does on social issues.

Marcus
Marcus

That "something else he's off to" includes success, dignity, self-respect, and achievment. Mr. Parker may want to laud those rather than embrace a philosophy which, he seems to be saying, is incompatible with being "one of us".

thefowler
thefowler

This is unbelievable!  Hypocrisy!  This goes far beyond what Limbaugh said a few years ago and yet he will get a pass!

2ndclarence
2ndclarence

 @dlallen66 The cause is the same cause black folks had back in the 1940, 50's, and 60's: Solidarity and movement towards true, unfiltered, unabashed equality in American society. Not being compartmentalized or having to be forced in. You don't get it...because you aren't black. And that's not a crime. It is like me not understanding how your family does things...because I'm not a part of your family. That said, the cornball comment was ridiculous and THAT should be what Parker gets taken to task for

2ndclarence
2ndclarence

 @TheHistorian I don't think it's that simple. Well, BEING a black man and knowing exactly what he meant, I KNOW it's not that simple. I think you speaking for MLK would have him more appalled honestly

SteveMehlman1
SteveMehlman1

It's really no worse than some of the outrageous things Limbaugh says every day on his EIB (Egomania in Broadcasting) Network.  Both Parker and Limbaugh need to go.

 

jamsub
jamsub

 @thefowler I am pretty sure Rod will be looking for a job in the next few weeks. Give it some time before you start screaming hypocrisy.