ESPN has suspended columnist and commentator Rob Parker indefinitely after he said on the air Thursday Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is “black, but he’s not really,” because Griffin is engaged to a white woman.
“Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice. We are conducting a full review,” ESPN said in a statement.
That further review should include not just Parker, but also everything about the show on which Parker made his comments on Thursday morning, ESPN First Take. It’s telling that when ESPN aired Best of First Take on Thursday afternoon, it included Parker’s comments. That’s because First Take thrives on provoking controversies with its panelists making outrageous claims, and it wasn’t until Parker’s comments were the subject of widespread criticism later in the day that ESPN felt the need to acknowledge the comments were inappropriate.
Just as the producers who decided to include Parker’s comments on the “Best Of” show apparently saw nothing wrong with them, Parker is clearly taken aback by ESPN suspending him: He initially defended his comments and called his critics “uneducated” and “silly” for questioning him. Parker has had nothing to say publicly since ESPN released a statement on Thursday evening that his comments were inappropriate.
On Friday morning’s edition of First Take, Parker’s comments were never mentioned. Although panelists Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith had a shouting match about Griffin, they touched only on whether he would be able to lead the Redskins to victory on Sunday while playing through a knee injury, and made no comment at all about Griffin’s personal life. Parker is probably wishing right now that he had made no comment at all about Griffin’s personal life, either.