On-air personality Rob Parker was reportedly suspended indefinitely by ESPN on Friday (12/14) over his controversial comments about race and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. The comments came during ESPN’s “First Take” during a conversation about rookie Redskins QB Robert Griffin III’s desire not to be referred to as a “black quarterback.”
ESPN released a brief statement on Friday, stating, “Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice. We are conducting a full review.”.
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Parker mentioned that in conversations he’s observed in his Detroit area barbershop, “the bros” have questioned if RG3 is a “real brother” and not a “cornball.” He foolishly cited one of the things “the bros” used as evidence of his “cornball status,” the fact that RG3 is engaged to a white woman ironically named, Becky.
“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., via USA Today. “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.”
Sounds self-explanatory to me. Not wanting to be pigeonholed as being a good player because he’s Black does not make him a “cornball”, that makes him aspire to be in a class of Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Black athletes who transcend race because of their impact on not just sports but culture.
Luckily Stephen A. Smith was on the same panel as a voice of reason.