ESPN admits Rob Parker’s RG3 comments were inappropriate

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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.

94 responses to “ESPN admits Rob Parker’s RG3 comments were inappropriate

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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”

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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…….

  24. 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.

  25. 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 😉 )

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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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