ESPN says Rob Parker’s comments on RG3 were ‘inappropriate’
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.”
For those asking for ESPN Statement on Rob Parker: “The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps.”
— David Scott (@ESPNprDScott) December 14, 2012