Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said in a recent interview that he didn’t want to be defined as an African-American quarterback. One ESPN commentator says that raises questions about Griffin.
In fact, ESPN’s Rob Parker said Thursday morning on First Take that, as an African-American, he has a lot of questions about Griffin.
“My question is, and it’s just a straight, honest question: Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother,” Parker said. “He’s not really. He’s black, he does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us. He’s kind of black, but he’s not really like the kind of guy you really want to hang out with.”
Parker said he wants to know more about Griffin’s personal life before he can accept Griffin as authentically black.
“I want to find about him,” Parker said. “I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancee. Then there was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like, ‘I’ve got black skin, but don’t call me black.’ So people wondered about Tiger Woods.”
Asked by fellow panelist Skip Bayless about the fact that Griffin braids his hair, Parker said that’s an aspect of Griffin that he approves of.
“That’s different, because, to me, that’s very urban,” Parker said. “Wearing braids is, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids.”
Another panelist on the show, Stephen A. Smith, said he wasn’t comfortable with how Parker had framed his argument.
“First of all, let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said when asked to respond to Parker. “RG3, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancee 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. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kinds of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.”
I asked an ESPN spokesman whether the network had any response to Parker’s comments on the air and will post it if ESPN does issue a response. But ESPN obviously thought Parker’s comments were worth repeating: When Best of First Take aired on Thursday afternoon, the show ended with a replay of the discussion about Griffin.