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ESPN admits Rob Parker’s RG3 comments were inappropriate

The 2012 ESPY Awards - Arrivals Getty Images

Several hours after an ESPN commentator questioned whether Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is authentically black, ESPN said those comments were out of line.

In a statement released by an ESPN spokesman, the network said, “The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps.”

It will be interesting to see what those “next steps” are, and whether they lead to the commentator who made the comments, Rob Parker, to lose his job. When another ESPN commentator, Rush Limbaugh, made racially charged comments about another quarterback, Donovan McNabb, that ended up being the last day that Limbaugh appeared on ESPN’s NFL pregame show.

In Parker’s case, the comments would seem to be even further outside the bounds of what’s acceptable than Limbaugh’s claim that McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to promote a black quarterback. Parker went so far as to say that being engaged to a white woman somehow made Griffin “not really” black. That’s way, way outside the bounds of what’s generally considered an acceptable part of the discourse.

However, ESPN also has to shoulder plenty of the blame for Parker’s comments: The show Parker was appearing on, ESPN First Take, is specifically designed to provoke, and the comments from the show’s panelists, when they don’t flagrantly cross the line, frequently tiptoe right up next to the line. It’s also telling that ESPN later aired Parker’s comments on its Best of First Take afternoon show, suggesting that those are exactly the kinds of provocative comments that ESPN wants on First Take.

Furthermore, Parker’s comments didn’t just surface suddenly during a discussion of Griffin and the Redskins. They were part of a broader segment that began with quotes Griffin gave to USA Today about not wanting to be defined as an African-American quarterback. The producers on First Take surely knew the basic thrust of what Parker was going to say. And they surely knew he was going to say something controversial. And they surely liked that, because First Take is a show designed to draw ratings by stirring controversy.

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94 Responses to “ESPN admits Rob Parker’s RG3 comments were inappropriate”
  1. kingpel says: Dec 13, 2012 7:32 PM

    Ya’ think!?!

  2. 0ffsides says: Dec 13, 2012 7:33 PM

    Next steps? How about out the door?

  3. dlc618 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:35 PM

    He’ll be suspended for a week or two. That entire network is starting to really go down hill….from the TV to the radio side. The radio side is awful starting with Cowherd thru SVP and Russo or whatever his name is. Has a very collegiate feel to it all day….and I mean that in a bad way. Amateurish.

  4. jh500 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:36 PM

    It’s like he tries to stand out amongst SAS and Skip by saying the most outlandish crap.

  5. bearnmind says: Dec 13, 2012 7:37 PM

    Just when I think ESPN can’t get any worse, they prove me wrong.

  6. jjrs89 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:37 PM

    This guys needs to be fired

  7. huskersrock1 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:38 PM

    Inappropriate? Try racist. Then they reaired them in a “Best of” show. Someone needs to be fired.

  8. playmaker21 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:38 PM

    Yet Actor/Comedian Jamie Foxx goes on Saturday Night Live and says “I kill all the White People” in reference to his new movie. And there is no backlash on him. Racism. It isn’t a one way street

  9. irishgary says: Dec 13, 2012 7:39 PM

    I’m still really surprised anyone pays attention to ESPN.

  10. joeyb3878 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:39 PM

    ESPN has always been quick to give the ax to any employees who create controversy or trouble. Michael Irvin, Harold Reynolds, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Sailsbury amongst others. I expect the same fate of a guy as expendable as Rob Parker.

  11. kattykathy says: Dec 13, 2012 7:39 PM

    If a white man made a statement similar to what Parker said , he would have already been fired.
    Sick of the double standard

  12. stoolerz says: Dec 13, 2012 7:40 PM

    Rob Parker has always been a racist. They better fire him, this racial sensitivity flows both ways.

  13. jjrs89 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:41 PM

    How is it not racist for him to keep his job when if a white commentator made the exact comments they would not only lose their job but have the entire media labeling them as a racist? Equal equality? Only when it’s convenient I guess

  14. nt3419 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:41 PM

    Dont watch ESPN if possible

  15. midwestwarrior says: Dec 13, 2012 7:41 PM

    trey wingo needs to be fired next. he is the worst personality on espn by far. i can’t watch NFL live because of that moron. him and bruschi both are pathetic

  16. duncanthecat says: Dec 13, 2012 7:41 PM

    Should

    Should any body really care what little boy Rob Parker really thinks or says.

    No.

  17. frankiefiveangels says: Dec 13, 2012 7:42 PM

    On that show Parker clearly looks down on Griffin for having a white girlfriend and possibly being a Republican. To Parker, Griffin is one of “those” people. Being a racist means you look down on or feel superior to another race of people and Parker is 2 for 2 in that department. It can safely be assumed Parker is a Democrat, the party that claims to be tolerant of others proving that racists come in all colors with all political beliefs. If ESPN keeps this phony they will be just another hypocrite network.

  18. midwestwarrior says: Dec 13, 2012 7:42 PM

    espn let jalen rose do an entire documentary using racial slurs and terms and he is still employed by the network. espn wont do anything to this parker guy , count on that

  19. vincentbojackson says: Dec 13, 2012 7:43 PM

    What I find most disturbing about this story is that I have no idea who Rob Parker is.

  20. carolinajimbo says: Dec 13, 2012 7:44 PM

    To bad RG3 gets mixed up in this mess. Being young, famous and rich has its down side I guess. Wishing him the best.

  21. ravensrooster94 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:44 PM

    Really stupid things are being said when Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless wind up on the same side of an argument.

    It doesn’t say much for Rob Parker when he makes those two look like reasonable, intelligent debaters.

  22. kingpel says: Dec 13, 2012 7:44 PM

    Sad part of this is I dont believe for one second that Rob Parker believes what he said. In an attempt to be controversial he pulled the pin of a racism grenade which is about to blow up in his face.

    Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless are two very smart men who know when to push and issue and when to back pedal. Rob Parker is not.

  23. bosfaninva says: Dec 13, 2012 7:44 PM

    Rob who? Just fire the idiot.

  24. Deb says: Dec 13, 2012 7:44 PM

    Based on MDS’s article, ESPN has painted itself into a nice little corner with its attempts to spark controversy. Parker’s racist diatribe must be addressed using the same standard used to address Limbaugh and other commentators. But someone higher up at the network also has to take responsibility for airing, then re-airing the same diatribe and obviously trying to capitalize on it.

  25. xxwhodatxx says: Dec 13, 2012 7:47 PM

    The difference between Rush and Parker is that Rush was right and Parker is a racist.

  26. rc33 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:48 PM

    A blatant racist and always has been. But unlike Limbaugh, he’s the kind of bigot ESPN will tolerate. I’d say there’s about a 1% he actually gets canned.

  27. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 13, 2012 7:48 PM

    They should can Mr Parker then Stuart “wants to be ghetto fresh” Scott and then Jalen “I hate Duke cuz they don’t like bigoted blacks” Rose. Espn has a problem in that it is becoming too juvenile and appealing to sensationalism then sound reasoning going for highlight dunks versus good team play. Oh well, this is what the mindless masses want…drool.

  28. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 13, 2012 7:49 PM

    playmaker21 says:
    Dec 13, 2012 7:38 PM
    Yet Actor/Comedian Jamie Foxx goes on Saturday Night Live and says “I kill all the White People” in reference to his new movie. And there is no backlash on him. Racism. It isn’t a one way street
    _____________________________

    I’ve heard worse said by comedians of all colors. Keyword: “comedian”

  29. jaggedmark says: Dec 13, 2012 7:51 PM

    If Parker ever got in a discussion “with” RG3 about this, Griffin would make him look stupid, which apparently he may be.

  30. urfinished says: Dec 13, 2012 7:51 PM

    No clue who that is but if a white guy said the opposite he would not only be fired, he’d be attacked physically.
    Deplorable.

  31. Deb says: Dec 13, 2012 7:52 PM

    According to this article, ESPN has painted itself into a corner with its attempts to spark controversy. Parker’s racist diatribe must be addressed using the same standard applied to Limbaugh and other commentators. But someone higher up at the network also has to take responsibility for airing then re-airing this offensive material.

  32. electionconfidential says: Dec 13, 2012 7:52 PM

    Listening closely to the show Rob Parker seems to imply that they’d discussed some of this in the pre-show meetings.

    Regardless, his remarks are not forgiveable especially given his history. RG3 is a young guy who needs to be able to find his own way. If you get drummed out of the NFL for having a white girlfriend we wouldn’t even be playing games.

    The reason I don’t watch that show anymore is because of this racial junk. I get tired of it, I feel alienated by it and I really only want to talk about sports.

    Robert Griffin is, to my knowledge, a total role model for young people. Rob Parker not so much.

  33. robataille says: Dec 13, 2012 7:54 PM

    ESPN… Do the right thing for once… Fire this fool and the fool that let him air this.

  34. darkglobe1 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:55 PM

    I haven’t watched ESPN programing (other than games) for two years now and couldn’t be happier.

  35. itmarkh says: Dec 13, 2012 7:56 PM

    Let a white guy make similar comments and he’d be fired in a heartbeat.

  36. elwaysmilehighdenver says: Dec 13, 2012 7:57 PM

    I will not watch or support ESPN anymore!

  37. stevenray72 says: Dec 13, 2012 7:58 PM

    Rob Parker’s comments are exactly what this country has been trying to fight against! Judging someone because if the color of there skin; we as Americans should be way past this. Let us not judge, but accept each other by good character and what one can offer to the world. Rob Parker and ESPN should be ashamed!!

  38. gettingpwned says: Dec 13, 2012 8:02 PM

    The guy who wrote this nailed it on the head. It’s a produced show. They knew exactly what they were doing/getting into. That pile of excrement they call a show needs to disappear. I’m just surprised they other clown didn’t say anything more offensive first. Then again, Parker hasn’t shown me anything in the past to prove he’s all that bright either.

  39. kheebner says: Dec 13, 2012 8:04 PM

    Wow. People like Rob Parker are the reason there is still racism in this world. He needs to be fired

  40. thraiderskin says: Dec 13, 2012 8:04 PM

    I wish RG3′s comments hadn’t even been brought up on that show, I’m extremely excited for the Redskin’s future with him as our Quarterback.

  41. ripster65 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:05 PM

    Yeah, dude may as well have played the Howard Cosell “Little monkey” card…and RGIII’s even Redskin as was Alvin Garret.

  42. prestigious1 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:06 PM

    Rob Parker always goes over the deep end when race is discussed.

  43. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 13, 2012 8:06 PM

    I’m African-American and I hear this argument all the time. “Black” in this context isn’t about the color of his skin. No one is going to deny him, his heritage. He’s talking about he doesn’t identify with the “black lifestyle.” It goes both ways.

    People can call Eminem and Bill Clinton “black” at the same time they can say RG3 isn’t “black” enough. In the end it doesn’t matter. It’s what RG3 calls himself. Tiger Woods may not consider himself “black.” But, he’s been nominated for NAACP Image Awards and BET Awards for his entire career. No one is denying anyone anything.

  44. skinsgal4life says: Dec 13, 2012 8:07 PM

    Parker should have been fired by now….what’s taking so long?

  45. rocketcrab says: Dec 13, 2012 8:07 PM

    dlc618 says:

    Dec 13, 2012 7:35 PM
    He’ll be suspended for a week or two. That entire network is starting to really go down hill….from the TV to the radio side. The radio side is awful starting with Cowherd thru SVP and Russo or whatever his name is. Has a very collegiate feel to it all day….and I mean that in a bad way. Amateurish
    __________________________________

    Thank you!!! Could not have said it better!! I simply cannot listen to Cowherd. I would rather have a root canal. He has a man-crush on Tom Brady, ONLY because that’s what he says the “ratings” want. I know Mr. Tony was polarizing, but I enjoyed his show. I think ESPN Radio started to go downhill when they let Dan Patrick walk. What’s this got to do with the RGIII comments? Well, nothing, just sayin…….

  46. clu1perceiver says: Dec 13, 2012 8:08 PM

    I watch First Take often, Stephen A. and Skip can be a hard listen at times, but a lot can be learned from their opinions. Rob Parker is another story altogether, his shallow, bigoted remarks deserve punitive consequences from ESPN. The shows producers and staff need a trip to the ‘what’s going on here’ shed to re-acquaint them with the nature of the topics they choose to engage.

  47. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 13, 2012 8:12 PM

    When he gets fired he can get a job ” being down with the cause ” !

  48. bruiseddeath says: Dec 13, 2012 8:16 PM

    blackandbluedivision says: Dec 13, 2012 7:49 PM

    playmaker21 says:
    Dec 13, 2012 7:38 PM
    Yet Actor/Comedian Jamie Foxx goes on Saturday Night Live and says “I kill all the White People” in reference to his new movie. And there is no backlash on him. Racism. It isn’t a one way street
    _____________________________

    I’ve heard worse said by comedians of all colors. Keyword: “comedian”

    ____________________________________

    Yeah I agree…..Can’t compare what a comedian such as Jamie Foxx stated on SNL with the foolish remarks of Parker. Way different animal/settings when dealing with comedy. Heck one of the funniest skits on SNL from Eddie Murphy was his song ‘Kill the White People’ had me in tears and I am Caucasian (white for those who do not know ;) )

  49. barnesaintnoble says: Dec 13, 2012 8:16 PM

    I’ve seen this show like once, it’s just a few idiots that know nothing about sports arguing about idiot things. If they actually knew something about sports or a sport, they’d be watching film, looking up stats for a show related to a specific sport. They are not anchors or analysts, just idiots. So it’s really not a big deal to me when another idiot hops on the show and says something stupid. Stephen A Smith is the voice of reason on that show, give me a break! Please stop making a big deal about this, this is exactly what ESPN wants you to do. What real penalty will they have to pay for this absurd comment? Nothing – the FCC won’t come calling and AT WORST Parker will be fired, more likely is a suspension or just an apology (that will be advertised and draw in even MORE viewers!) followed by an open invitation to RG3 to come on the show.

    Please say no RG3. Please say something like, “I don’t think anyone watches a show that airs during times when most of America is at work.” Only you can save us now.

  50. tokyolionsfan says: Dec 13, 2012 8:18 PM

    Nothing new. Rob Parker has made a career of making these kinds of brash, irrational statements. He got fired from the Detroit Free Press (or maybe the News, can’t recall exactly) for making idiotic statements. Some old dogs can’t learn new tricks.

  51. namaths5thofwhiskey says: Dec 13, 2012 8:21 PM

    Espn is trash.

  52. archetypeobscure says: Dec 13, 2012 8:26 PM

    The producer needs to be canned for the rerun of the segment. That show is trash anyway. Cold Pizza used to be alright, but I cant even stand to watch ESPN for anything other than an actual sporting event anymore. They’ve really lost their way in exchange for some cheap ratings.

  53. hkemp99 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:26 PM

    Rob Parker was fired from his last job for saying idiotic things. Keep moving people, nothing new to see here …

  54. thefiesty1 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:33 PM

    Everybody just calm down. Who cares what this jerk said.

  55. artiesliver says: Dec 13, 2012 8:40 PM

    I’m not surprised at all. I could always tell that he was racist. It’s the reason why he hates the city of Boston and all it’s teams because for some Boston is still that image of racism from the 1970′s busing controversy.
    Rob Parker is a moron and I hope they use this as an excuse to fire him.

  56. obxfannings says: Dec 13, 2012 8:52 PM

    For those saying to calm down, PLEASE… this is just the kind of double standard that allows blatant racism to continue on in our country. Bigots need to be outed, no matter what their color. After sending out an e-mail to ESPN, the response was that First Take is a show based on opinion and controversy and that the show’s opinions may not agree with mine. Pretty lame response …. I guess a boycott is in order for this kid until Rob Parker is on the street and off the airwaves.

  57. bigbluenationdb says: Dec 13, 2012 8:52 PM

    As a Giants fan I will never like or pull for RG3 but the kid is a class act. I am not African American but he is a guy I would think that race would be proud of. He is a well educated, hard working “black” man that the sky is the limit.

  58. weaselpuppy says: Dec 13, 2012 8:53 PM

    Rob Parker’s entire schtick in Detroit was to say something stupid and get eyeballs. He’s lazy, doesn’t have an original thought in his head and generally someone I wouldn’t trust getting my order right at the drive-thru….this entire dust up was inevitable.

    On the other hand, the other guy in Detroit who does this should be available to take his spot, The issue there is that Drew Sharp is the exact same schtick, except he is by nature a truly an annoying stupid mongoloid and is not doing this as a ploy.

  59. prodigious1271 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:54 PM

    Parker don’t come crawling back to Detroit either, we don’t want you.

  60. transam7816 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:55 PM

    More than 1 person needs to be fired here

  61. alewatcher says: Dec 13, 2012 8:58 PM

    Deb says: Dec 13, 2012 7:52 PM

    According to this article, ESPN has painted itself into a corner with its attempts to spark controversy. Parker’s racist diatribe must be addressed using the same standard applied to Limbaugh and other commentators. But someone higher up at the network also has to take responsibility for airing then re-airing this offensive material.

    —————–
    This sounds a lot like the NFL fining players for illegal hits, yet selling posters of the same hits on the NFL web site.

    No shortage of hypocrisy these days.

  62. nflhof says: Dec 13, 2012 9:00 PM

    Why is anyone watching First Take anyways? It’s just garbage and hot air.

  63. theblowtorchreview says: Dec 13, 2012 9:38 PM

    People actually watch ESPN with the sound on?

  64. hotlantalaw says: Dec 13, 2012 9:55 PM

    Fire him

  65. 6stn says: Dec 13, 2012 9:57 PM

    Don’t like Limbaugh, Steven A. Smith, Skip Bayless or Jalen (Fraud Five) Rose. I miss Michelle Beadle.

  66. whackman says: Dec 13, 2012 9:59 PM

    Just goes to show you that every race has their racists…

  67. whitetrashking says: Dec 13, 2012 9:59 PM

    Hank Williams Jr will sue if they dont fire Rob Parker…..

  68. nwsteel says: Dec 13, 2012 10:07 PM

    Looking forward to tuning in to ESPN and no longer seeing Parker.

  69. fballguy says: Dec 13, 2012 10:09 PM

    Give me a break. The guy was being facetious. Aren’t we beyond feigned outrage yet? It’s getting old. We have a black president for crying out loud and yet we are still the most easily offended country in the world.

  70. shoeflypie says: Dec 13, 2012 10:20 PM

    ESPN = Especially Stupid People Network

  71. moochzilla says: Dec 13, 2012 10:20 PM

    Rush was not fired, he quit. Because he’s a sissy.

    Important to note.

  72. hines86for6 says: Dec 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    Liberal identity politics at their worst.

  73. point947 says: Dec 13, 2012 10:30 PM

    Somewhere Wayne Brady is laughing…

  74. dylanssongwriter says: Dec 13, 2012 10:48 PM

    limbaugh is a moron, but he was actually correct when it came to mcnabb.

  75. ultramegacritic says: Dec 13, 2012 11:08 PM

    elwaysmilehighdenver says: Dec 13, 2012 7:57 PM

    I will not watch or support ESPN anymore!
    —————————————————–
    Yes you will, You will be watching it tonight. Don’t lie. I bet if you were hooked up to a lie detector test at this time next year and asked if you watched ESPN since today it would show up that you diud in fact watch ESPN..every day

  76. davidcl77 says: Dec 13, 2012 11:11 PM

    I said yes it do, fumanchu!

  77. giantsfanlewis says: Dec 13, 2012 11:24 PM

    The saddest and most overlooked part of this entire situation is that if he is fired ESPN will be labeled racist

  78. eyeh8goodell says: Dec 13, 2012 11:35 PM

    ESPN has become the Fox News of sports.

  79. jkb0162 says: Dec 13, 2012 11:39 PM

    This is the same guy who on this show has said he didn’t want to shake Guiliani’s hand after the Yankees won the World Series because he disagreed with his politics, has said Goodell is a disgrace and should be fired, has claimed that all steroid users should be in the hall of fame and has questioned Tiger Woods blackness. He is an idiot who always makes idiotic comments. Why should ESPN fire him now? They have made no attempt to reprimand him before.

  80. Pacific NW Mark says: Dec 13, 2012 11:49 PM

    Parker should be fired, as should the producer who put his comments out over the air.

  81. nflgiant says: Dec 14, 2012 12:12 AM

    E ver So Professional Not

  82. jc327 says: Dec 14, 2012 12:24 AM

    Hey, isn’t that the guy who sang “Ghostbusters”?

  83. upperdecker19 says: Dec 14, 2012 12:25 AM

    Where’s Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson crying that RGIII is a victim of racism on this one?

  84. 1standinches says: Dec 14, 2012 2:35 AM

    ESPN is garbage, simple as that.

  85. 1standinches says: Dec 14, 2012 2:42 AM

    I love how Skip Bayless dug a hole so Rob Parker could fall into it

    Skip: What did his braids say to you?

    Lol brilliant strategy Skip, even though you and Rob Parker are both idiots

  86. diamondmike2 says: Dec 14, 2012 3:05 AM

    As Donald Trump would say “Rob Parker, You’re Fired”

  87. TheWizard says: Dec 14, 2012 5:29 AM

    It’s ok, people.

    Those on the left (all of sports journalism) are allowed to speak this way, because they are “down for the struggle”.

    This hypocrisy has existed on the national political scene as far back as I can remember.

  88. hoopieguy says: Dec 14, 2012 5:31 AM

    Gotta agree with 95% of the takes on here. Racism is indeed a two way street, and the tide has really turned the other way.

  89. noring4youstill says: Dec 14, 2012 7:52 AM

    Not only inappropriate but freaking stupid. Who cares if 1 he has a white woman. 2 he is a republican. Lord helps us if he believes you work to earn.

  90. ghelba2 says: Dec 14, 2012 8:55 AM

    Guy should be fired ASAP from ESPN and this is not the 1st time he has said something stupid that he had to apologize for either. I myself have grown to like RGIII more and more each day with everything he says and does. he is a risk class act

  91. bdawkins2 says: Dec 14, 2012 9:36 AM

    They should have fired him long ago because he sucks.

  92. jbcommonsense says: Dec 14, 2012 10:38 AM

    I found the comments offensive too. But if ESPN is soliciting and promoting comments like this, wouldn’t it then be completely hypocritical for them to turn around and fire Parker for saying things he would likely have otherwise kept to himself? Parker was just their pawn for ratings.

  93. cbccomment says: Dec 14, 2012 2:37 PM

    According to Parker, you’re not ‘real’ black if you have a white girlfriend or if you’re a Republican. But braids are good indicator of ‘pure brother’ status. Odd, the combination of bigotry and racism those criteria espouse: Pure Brother, Color of the Girls Skin, Braids – it’s the opposite of everything Dr. King had hoped. Those criteria have nothing to do with the character of Robert Griffin III or any person for that matter. In fact those criteria are only important to a racist.

  94. raiderstink56 says: Dec 27, 2012 12:20 PM

    I don’t understand and I am not saying what either this half wit, are Jamie Fox were right for what they said, but what is the difference in what Rush Limbaugh says all the time to infuriate people both white and black, everyone knows he is racist and has made a living and I might add a very good one by his racist rhetoric and frankly this man should have been run out of town on a rail for trying to start a race war all by his self, I say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

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