ESPN commentator on RG3: “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really”

Reuters

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.

189 responses to “ESPN commentator on RG3: “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really”

  1. As a black man (don’t know if I’m a true brother or not) but as a man being black in America, this is why we repeatedly lose. What difference does it make Mr. Parker? I thought I’d have more to say but I’m at a loss for words.

  2. Why can’t he just be a human? Or if you have to label – why can’t he just be a Christian? I believe he defines himself as Christian based on his interviews. Why do we always have to find ways to separate and hate? He is a great athlete and fun to watch.

  3. How does Rob Parker have a job, let alone a job on a national stage? I don’t care if Parker is Black, White, or otherwise (yes, I know he’s Black) – His comments are racist. Since this is not the first time that those of is the Detroit media market have heard similar comments from Parker, I would surmise that he’s racist. Fire this bum!

  4. Racism if I ever heard it….skin colors is all that determines if someone is black, not their beliefs, morals, or likes. What a db this soon to be unemployed Parker is! RG3 is a great QB, that’s all I know about him

  5. That is the most stupid and dumb ass comment I have ever heard!We should question Rob why he hating on the brother…braids???? Cuz Rob hair is nappy as all out doesn’t mean RGIII isnt black!

    It’s sad when you look up and another black commentator dogging his own! Why we do this to each other? It’s sad and crazy!!!!

    Rob, take your ass to the hood and see how fast you run , Brother!!!!! You’re officially a hater!!!!!

  6. A pretty 1980’s take. We’ve got a black president, a majority of NFL players are black, there have been plenty of black QBs. What exactly is “the cause”?

  7. Parker, in my opinion, isn’t worth listening to. He is a racist and that kind of attitude doesn’t get “his” people anywhere. I find Stephen A to be a bit of a loud mouth a lot of the time but he hit the nail on the head.

  8. I don’t care what this idiot has to say, black or brown or white I just want this QB mediocrity that we have had in Washington to end asap!

  9. Ugh. This is so dumb. Can’t a black guy live his life the way he pleases? Isn’t the strive for equality is what blacks fought for so many years? Now it’s a problem if you’re not “black” enough?

  10. So racist. If it was a white man talking in that fashion about white people, all hell would be brought down on him. That segment should have never even happened. When can people just become people, regardless of the color of skin.

  11. I just think RGIII is a good dude who if he continues to play this way will be an all-pro for years to come. Why must race be brought into everything in this country..this really is ignorance at its best..go back to bed Mr. Parker!

  12. Actually, I know exactly what Parker is talking about.

    I thought the same thing about Andy Dalton. I mean, he’s white, but he’s also got red hair.

  13. When is this clown going to be fired?
    Where are the anti-racial groups and why are they not going after this guy?

    This is an extreme form of racism! Just because it was said be a fellow african-american doesn’t give it a pass.
    If radical racial groups want to be taken seriously, they must treat racial inflammatory comments the same. No matter the color of the person making the statements.

  14. Jeez, let the kid live his own life.
    He no more represents me as does any other person who plays football.
    The color of his skin, girlfriend, best friends, car, house or underwear doesn’t sell merchandise and tickets, wins and losses is what drives their team.

  15. What an idiot. Griffin is black because he has black parents. Braids and “being down the cause” isn’t what makes you black. If that’s the case, there’s a whole bunch of white dudes in inner cities that are “black”. I don’t care if Griffin has a fiancee from Jupiter and likes to riverdance. I want my QB to be who he is because it’s gotten him this far.

    And what makes Parker think RG3 would want to hang out with HIM? Hahaha, you’re the cornball. Ya “I want to find out more about him.” I would’ve told him, “I’m Rg3… who the hell are you? Ya, big dummy.” HAIL!

  16. Rob Parker is an absolutely disgusting human being. He should be fired immediately from ESPN. What kind of black man has the name Robert? Is he even black? I’ll have to do some more research on this guy and let ya know if I approve of him…..what a joke

  17. I heard him say that on the show this morning and thought that it’s Rob’s kind of thinking that causes societal stagnation. His view is not forward-looking.

    Rob, perhaps you would do well to mark the words of MLK and see Robert Griffin the III for the content of his character and not the color of his skin (nor how he wears his hair or who he is engaged to marry).

  18. Not gonna lie, when I saw the headline the first thing I thought was “pleeeeease let it be Meryl Hodge”

  19. ESPN should not only disciple Parker but also FIRE the producer who chose to re-air that segment. It was either an egregious oversight or a tremendously stupid implication that Parker and Smith were having a constructive conversation about race. What Parker said was ignorant and inexcusable. This is not the first time ESPN has shown serious insensitivity toward race, remember the Jeremy Lin “chink in the armor” headline?

  20. Complete stupidity. So a typical show for First Take. I’ll give him credit, out buffooning Skippy is not easy to do.

  21. ESPN needs to cancel First Take, watching these idiots shout about nonsense is embarrassing. Now they are going to question a players blackness, sorry Mr. Parker but I question you morality and quest for real sports journalism. Man I thought we were past this stuff when they called out McNabb and that went just peachy for Limbaugh.

  22. I dont think this is racists as much as its just plain stupid. Everyone in this thread would have had better things to say than this guy. ESPN should be embarassed.

  23. White people have been fired from TV jobs for saying far less. Double standards are hilarious, and the 4-letter network loses even more credibility.

  24. So an upstanding African American that battled underdog odds successfully, became a starting QB in a league where blacks are overwhelmingly underrepresented at that position, lives a seemingly clean life, is charismatic, well-spoken, and has a white fiancee is a “cornball” brother?

    Uh, I call that a great role model.

  25. Look at Rob Parker’s history. He’s always saying crazy things to make headline news. It’s the only way he can market himself because he’s a terrible commentator.

  26. It amazes me that somewhere in his puny little mind, this makes sense to Parker and he thinks it belongs on the airwaves.

    Absolutely disgusting

  27. What does Parker mean by being black? Maybe I am different than other people but I don’t really care what color your skin is. To me it’s all about how someone carries themselves. Is it in a respectable manner, someone that I can support my son or daughter having as someone they look up to. I think RG3 in his comments about being the best QB was trying to not let race be an issue. I would be proud to be associated with RG3 no matter what his race. This kind of thing seems kind of divisive and disrespectful to RG3.

  28. So wait, RG3 isn’t authentically black cause of his white fiance.. does that mean Ice T isn’t black?! My whole world is turning upside down, Rob Parker.

    Idiot.

  29. vbe2 says:
    Dec 13, 2012 3:10 PM
    When will people just let people be people and not worry about their skin pigmentation?

    A person is a person.

    ———————————

    Thank you for saying it better than I’ve heard anyone else say it in years, if ever.

  30. bobulated says: Dec 13, 2012 3:16 PM

    Stephen A. Smith being a voice of reason is surely a sign that The End of Days is upon us.
    ______
    Truer words have never been spoken. On that note, what is wrong with First Take as a whole?

    Whether it’s Bayless, Steven A., Merril Hoge, or this latest from Rob Parker, one has to assume the whole point of the show is to draw in early morning viewership by having the most loathable personalities in sports media spout out the dumbest things they can possibly come up with.

  31. Mr. Parker was already suspended by his previous employer for making things up about Kirk Cousins when he was playing at Michigan State. If Parker does not get another suspension, I look forward to him getting dressed down by people like Mike Wilbon and RG3 himself.

    Come to think of it, how did this guy get this job to begin with?

  32. What’s the difference with that and what Rush Limbaugh said about McNabb?

    Oh right Rush is white and Conservative. Got it.

  33. RGIII is an excellent rookie quarterback and a model human being. Skin color does not factor into the equation, nor should it ever.

    As long as ethnicity groups continues to push the agenda of “colorness” instead of “colorless”, the world will continue to have racist groups.

  34. This is simply disgusting. He’s a person and a man and one great athlete. How about you view him that way? Sorry if you want him to be a stereotype in order to be good enough for you. This is why racism still exists in a time where it shouldn’t. What a jerk

  35. Hate reading things like this. Nobody benefits. It just serves to stoke the smoldering fire of racism. I think RGIII is a good quarterback, not a good “black” quarterback. Skin color is an unnecessary adjective.

  36. As a black man I’m deeply sadden and offended by MR Parkers comments. I hope that there is some context in which he was speaking that we just didn’t understand. Because, absent of any other explanation that was as racist of a statement that I’ve heard. My question is why does MR Parker still have a job. If a white male would have made a similar statement many in the african american community would be calling for his job. At this time I ask that all African Americans join in expressing the moral outrage that this issue deserves. Do anyone that may have been offended by what occurred on ESPN today I offer my heart felt apology

  37. God forbid a black man actually speaks properly and doesn’t act like he should be walking into a convenient store for some malt liquor. He’s a well spoken young man who has his head on straight and has a wonderful, supportive family. HE should be the kind of person that young kids look up to, not the likes of Mike Vick, Terrell Owens, etc. I hope this kid tears up the league for years.

  38. -What Parker said is racist. It is every bit as racist as anything Rush Limbaugh said when he was on ESPN’s pre-game show. Every black person should call or write ESPN and demand he be fired, just like they did when Rush said what he did.

    -We are never going to get anywhere as a society until ALL stereotypes are rejected by ALL people. This nonsense that black people aren’t really black people unless they are Democrats, live certain places, marry another black person or wear their hair a certain way is just that – nonsense.

    -Let’s be clear on one thing. I couldn’t care less what Jesse Jackson says, the only way you can be African-American is if you were born in the USA and at least one of your parents was born in Africa. We need to get out of bed every morning because we want to make the world a better place, not because we deeply desire to be offended by everything and need to keep inventing new terms to identify ourselves.

    Get this idiot off the air. Yesterday.

  39. Rob Parker should say sorry to RG3 for his comments tommrow on First Take if he doesn’t he should be fired.

  40. FYI … When Rod Marinelli coached the Detroit Lions, his son-in-law, Joe Barry was his Defensive Coordinator. After a particularly brutal Lions’ loss, Rob Parker asked Rod Marinelli
    “Do you wish your daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator?” He was fired from The Detroit News not too long afterwards.

    I’ve played golf with Parker and he is a personable, affable guy. But when he gets a pen in hand or a microphone in front of him he loses sensibilty. He attempts to be controversial, negative and too “cute” with his comments. Unfortunately he may jose his position at ESPN because of this.

  41. I have to say that could be the most idiotic gibberish I’ve ever heard! I understand that he may not fit the cultural mold but just because he’s an intelligent, well spoken black man doesn’t make him any less “black”! I am about as white as they come, but if I were a black man I would feel as though my intelligence was being insulted. One word: disgraceful!

  42. Isn’t this the same guy that got fired from the Detroit News for asking Rod Marinelli about nepotism in a press conference?

    To the commenter who said “why not just call him a Christian”…how is that any different than bringing race into it?

  43. ESPN suspended Bob Griese for an off-the-cuff comment about a Latino NASCAR driver having a taco. Parker is questioning whether an African-American quarterback is black enough because RGIII’s behavior doesn’t meet Parker’s narrow criteria. That is blatantly racist. Shouldn’t ESPN apply the same standards to Parker as they have to Griese and other commentators?

  44. Does he not understand that when RG3 is saying he doesn’t want to be seen as an African-American QB, he isn’t saying he doesn’t want to be seen as African-American. Once a QB is an ”African-American QB”, he is automatically compared to other African-American QB’s. People were so quick to compare RG3 to Cam Newton and Michael Vick. I’m sure he’d also like to be compared to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

  45. Regardless of the color of Mr. Griffin’s fiancee, I hope they are happy and have a long happy marriage and don’t encounter haters of any kind. Sheesh.

  46. Rob Parker should either be suspended or fired for the comments he made. That was one of the most racist things I have heard come from a supposedly professional sports writer or columnist. Just because his skin is black that means he has to what “act” black and date black women?? Because he has a good head on his shoulders and is educated and a good person all around he isn’t “black”??? Fire him!

  47. What happened to “Judge a man by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin”. I wonder who has a more admiring character, a no-name ESPN reporter or the Rookie QB he’s jealous of?

  48. when are we going to move forward as a human race..how is this ignorant man a tv personality when there are so many good people out there without a job?

  49. RGIII is by all appearances is a credit to the ENTIRE human race, not just African-Americans. For him to be criticized for being well-spoken, educated, and classy is a disgrace. That commentator should be fired.

  50. Well, Mr.Parker, how do you judge a man’s “Blackness”? Is he too ” high yella” for you?The man basically said “Don’t judge me by the color of my skin”. And to you, that statement, along with the White girlfriend, makes you indignantly question his “Blackness”? Mr. Parker, I question your HUMANITY, and I suggest that you, sir, are the Racist here.

  51. Its all the reasons he made something of himself ! As far as being down with the cause that happened a long time ago and I imagine Parker would not have been brave enough to take part in it !

  52. Does this mean Steven A. Smith is not really black because he’s highly intelligent, articulate and possesses a high end lexicon? If a white announcer made similar comments he would be terminated, but guys like Barkley and Stuart Scott and Keyshawn can make fun of whites and it’s viewed as joking. Double standard. Campanis and Jimmy the Greek terminated (I agree with it, but do same to the African American bigots too).

  53. Mr. Parker may not feel sure yet if he can ‘approve’ of Robert Griffin III. One thing the rest of us CAN feel quite sure about:
    the toughness, the talent, and the tact that RGIII demonstrates on, and off, the field leaves little doubt that he needs no one’s approval. Mr. Parker may not want to ‘hang out’ with RGIII. There are millions of football fans, however, who would look at the opportunity as quite a privilege.

  54. Rob Parker = Racist extraordinaire! We all know what would be happening right now if a white person said something stupid like that!

  55. Blacks that think like this are losers and defeat the purpose of what the real black men and woman did for THE CAUSE !

  56. What he said is every bit as racist as if someone of another race had said it. it makes no difference who made the comment.

    period.

  57. Rob Parker is a true idiot. This is the same nonsense that Bernard Hopkins said about Donovan McNabb not being black enough. These people who get on tv and declare who’s black and who is not black enough make me want to puke.

  58. This is rediculous. Just cause RG3 has way more class then you, is a way better athlete, and is well spoken means he’s not black? Rediculous. I guess the model black person should be Chris Johnson from the titans.

  59. Wait a minute … ESPN just proudly announced they were suspending two people for comments made about a transgender 50 year old JUCO basketball player who towered over every other girl on the team …… but Rob Parker is okay with these racist comments about Griffin, just because HE’S black too?????

  60. Absolutely pathetic. What some stupid, disgusting things to say. Leave the kid alone and let him play football.

    I’m about as white as they come, and I think the racial profiling, racial stereotypes, and all the other racial rhetoric that has been in the media recently and in the last few years is disgusting.

    Class warfare and racial divisiveness had plagued our media and culture in the last few years, and set race relations back forty years in the country.

  61. This is another reason why that individual, along with ESPN as a whole, is a complete joke. It’s schtick and ratings-mongering at it’s absolute worst. Makes me want to puke.

  62. Being with a below average looking White woman is secondary. I understand what he is saying, but he is way off base with his assertion. Griffin, like me, is tired of that subliminal labeling of “Black QB” vs. “QB who happens to be Black”, and always asserting that he’s a guy who runs, “but can throw, when necessary”. It hearkens back to my childhood when they always thought that a Black guy lacked the acumen to play QB in totality. And that’s what Griffin is trying to buck; not “trying to distance himself from his Blackness”, as Parker claims.

  63. Or better yet if that was a white person saying another white athlete is acting too “black” how bad would that b?

  64. I am black and I’d be very pleased with myself if I found out that Rob Parker didn’t think I met his definition of being an “authentic brother.” After all, I have voted for Republicans and have friends of all skin colors.

    And then I’d probably ask him to step outside and allow me to show him a little bit of my authenticity.

    Why is a moron like that allowed to be on TV?

  65. As someone who is black I have to say some “African American” ppl are really racist an half the time as you can see its against our own race. I mean comeon now we continue to pull up the race card and we always have this fixation with someone not being black enough. Wth. And i know exactly why this idiot said that too. Is it because Robert has both his parents in his life, or maybe it’s because he went to college. Oh no it has to be because he hasn’t been arrested yet that’s it. If being from the hood and being urban is what defines you as being black then I want no part of that mr.parker. Just because rg3 carries himself in a way a franchise qb should it doesn’t mean he isn’t black, it means his smart and he is a man.

  66. Why should ANY black man ever have to fear that the way he lives his life is not “black” enough? I cannot believe that Rob Parker is an educated person. He sounds ignorant, and his comments directly reflect the type of mindset that divides people by their race.

  67. It was not a smart thing to say on national TV. It was honest, not very well said, but his true feelings that were better fit for the barber shop. I understand what he was trying to convey – he failed.

    I couldn’t care less about RG3’s hair, his white girlfriend, his classroom status, etc. None of that bothers me, but if it’s true that he sees himself aligned with GOP doctrine, that’s where I draw the line. That is a disgusting thought, in keeping with the likes of Clarence Thomas and the other tokens begging for acceptance in an exclusive world.

  68. For some reason the image of Wayne Brady and Dave Chappelle riding around in a car is popping up in my head.

  69. Admittedly, I watch First Take quite regularly. Rob Parker is a blowhard and a shock-jock but on this case (I watched the show today) I really think he was giving an honest answer… his body language and what not did not give me the sense that he was trying to cause any controversy or anything like that.

  70. Over 20 years ago, when a clueless reporter at a Super Bowl media event asked Doug Williams “how long have you been a black quarterback?” I thought that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Not any more. It has been superseded.

  71. Highest thumbs up to thumbs down ratio ever? For once, everyone agrees with everybody. If this doesn’t put on full display how much of a joke ESPN is, I don’t know what does.

  72. I suggest contacting his employer and letting your feelings be known.

    Way to crap all over this kid, Parker. Fortunately, he is ten times the man you are and will shrug your assinine comments off with a smile.

    Shame on you ESPN.

  73. For the first time ever, I am 100% behind something Stephen A. Smith said. Perhaps the world really is coming to an end next week.

  74. 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!!

  75. As a Raiders fan and having the NFL Sunday Ticket I don’t care if the has tattoos braids in his hair or if he’s black or not, he has made this season worth watching for me. The Redskins are the “funnest” team to watch right now because of RG3.

  76. I just think it was a stupid, archaic and awfully shallow topic for today’s age. Rob Parker belongs to the 20th century. My interest in the ESPN brand is instantly diluted

  77. How is this any different from the comments made by Jimmy the Greek or Al Campanis? Parker needs to be fired immediately.

  78. cubsisles72 says: Dec 13, 2012 6:08 PM

    Does this mean Steven A. Smith is not really black because he’s highly intelligent, articulate and possesses a high end lexicon? If a white announcer made similar comments he would be terminated, but guys like Barkley and Stuart Scott and Keyshawn can make fun of whites and it’s viewed as joking. Double standard. Campanis and Jimmy the Greek terminated (I agree with it, but do same to the African American bigots too).
    _______
    Excellent point, but this is Steven A. Smith we’re talking about, and as much goodwill as Smith has earned for his sensibility, composure, and judgment during this “discussion”, I can pretty much guarantee you he will have used it all up within a week by making his next outlandish statement or picking both teams to win the Super Bowl and then bragging about how his picks are always right.

  79. Rob Parker is a racist, and should be fired for his comments. The American people should be outraged. It doesn’t matter if you are white or black. If you are American this should tick you off. Fire this idiot.

  80. I think what RG3 was saying is he doesn’t want to be boxed in as an “African-American QB” where he’s only compared to Vick, McNabb, Cam, etc. I think he was just trying to say he wants to be looked at as a “quarterback” and not dimished by a sub-category, just like how Wes Welker doesn’t want to be called the 21st century Steve Largent.

  81. Peyton Manning is kinda white, but isn’t. He has a Jay Z song on his itunes, he’s been spotted out to dinner with Reggie Wayne, and I once saw a picture of him wearing Adidas!

  82. You mean the same reason people didn’t embrace McNabb as much but LOVED VICK INSTANTLY?!

    That type of black?

  83. Welp…ESPN and First Take got their wish. Now they have people talking about their show and the WILDLY CONTROVERSIAL ROBERT PARKER…who no one had a clue about before, outside of the unemployed who wake up at the early hour of 10am to watch the show every morning.

    Let’s be real, ESPN would have never suspended this guy if it weren’t for the so-called outcry that took place after the show aired. Agreed, they were moronic comments. However, shouldn’t there be a better way of finding a common ground among neanderthals like Prker?

  84. Is he a “brother” or is he a “cornball brother” — What is that supposed to mean?

    “He’s not one of ‘us'” – Who are the “us” he is referring to?

    Is it just because that RGIII is a black athlete that he has to be a certain way and if he doesn’t he is doing something wrong?

  85. Good thing Parker is black because if he was white, we’d have to see those two idiots Jesse Jackson and Sharpton crying on the news

  86. I’m guessing RGIII is descended from freed slaves. “Free” is not a word that is subject to degree, but an absolute, meaning he is free to believe and speak out of those beliefs, or not, as he chooses within the law. Race is genetic, and not subject to choice. Tiger Woods was being accurate because his Father was of mixed African American, Native American, and European American heritage, and his Mother was Asian, making him less than half African American. The impulse to enforce a particular ideology along racial lines has a long history, but in a free country is correctly identified as racist.

  87. I’m guessing RGIII is descended from freed slaves. “Free” is not a word that is subject to degree, but an absolute, meaning he is free to believe and speak out of those beliefs, or not, as he chooses within the law. Race is genetic, and not subject to choice. Tiger Woods was being accurate because his Father was of mixed African American, Native American, and European American heritage, and his Mother was Asian, making him less than half African American. The impulse to enforce a particular ideology along racial lines has a long history, but in a free country is correctly identified as racist. In his statements, Rob Parker makes a number of assumptions, so I’m going to as well. Baylor is a Baptist university so maybe Griffin grew up in a Black Baptist Church where “liberation” politics were a large part of their distinct style of worship. I have read various conservative white leaders in the larger, predominately white Baptist denomination have been reaching out to downplay political differences in favor of finding a Christian common ground among the races, particularly where Black and White churches are in close proximity. Since worship is in many places still almost entirely segregated, I’m just going to assume RGIII chooses his cause to be letting his life speak for itself.

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