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Rob Parker’s RG3 comments prove a thorny issue at ESPN

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When ESPN commentator Rob Parker said last week on First Take that he doesn’t think Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is authentically black because, among other things, Griffin is engaged to a white woman, ESPN suspended Parker and tried to distance itself from the comments.

But Parker’s comments aren’t going to be easy for ESPN to sweep under the rug. Because Parker’s comments have led to a closer examination within ESPN of the ways that employees who make a habit of saying outrageous things are damaging the brand.

Richard Deitsch of SI.com spoke to several ESPN employees who said they’ve had enough of the Worldwide Leader bringing in people like Parker to shout offensive things on the air in a cheap ratings grab, employees who say that ESPN must re-examine its growing “debate” format, which makes a mockery of the very word “debate” by resembling something closer to Jerry Springer and Maury Povich than Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

I don’t wish to be lumped in with that nonsense,” one ESPN employee told Deitsch.

Other ESPN employees have noted that Parker’s comments actually aired three times before network management admitted the comments were offensive: ESPN First Take airs live in the morning, then re-airs immediately following the live airing, and then later in the day ESPN2 airs Best of First Take. Parker’s comments appeared not only on the live airing but also on the re-airing and the “best of” show. So not only did no one at ESPN think to remove Parker’s comments from the re-airing, but someone at ESPN made an affirmative decision to give Parker’s comments the “best of” seal of approval.

“They have created a culture of this,” another ESPN employee told Deitsch. “The fact that they didn’t remove it from the re-air proves their intent wasn’t to do anything.”

Eventually, ESPN faced criticism from enough quarters that they had to do something. But the bigger question is this: Why did ESPN hire Parker in the first place?

Parker’s entire approach to working in the media, dating to his pre-ESPN days as a Detroit News columnist, has always been to draw attention to himself by making provocative statements. When covering press conferences, Parker’s specialty is asking questions designed not to gather information, but to scream, “Look at me!” The most famous example came late in the 2008 NFL season, when Parker asked former Lions coach Rod Marinelli, whose son-in-law was the team’s defensive coordinator, “Do you wish your daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator?”

It was telling that Parker waited until Marinelli was about to be fired to frame his question in such a mean-spirited manner. The Lions went 0-16 that season, so it was certainly fair game to ask hard questions to Marinelli about how he assembled his coaching staff, but Parker isn’t the type to ask hard questions so much as he’s the type to ask rude questions. Parker knew Marinelli was down, so Parker decided to get one last kick in at Marinelli’s final post-game press conference.

That incident got Parker demoted by the Detroit News, and Parker resigned after he was demoted — apparently because he knew he had a plum job waiting for him at ESPN, which wanted someone who would favor provocation over civility. That’s what First Take does best. Or worst.

ESPN says it is reviewing Parker’s comments, but really, what is there to review? Parker believes there’s something wrong with a black man falling in love with a white woman. ESPN producers think Parker expressing that belief constitutes some of the best commentary that First Take has to offer. If ESPN wants to repent for airing those appalling views, and if ESPN wants to improve the discourse, there’s only one thing to do: Cancel First Take.

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97 Responses to “Rob Parker’s RG3 comments prove a thorny issue at ESPN”
  1. bucrightoff says: Dec 17, 2012 9:57 AM

    These guys are paid to troll and thats exactly what they do. ESPN loves all the attention they got from this, and while there may be a few “anonymous” people gripping, I’m guessing they aren’t gripping when they get the paycheck.

  2. daryllh says: Dec 17, 2012 10:02 AM

    I used to watch First Take for the ‘car crashes’, the really outlandish takes of current sports stories. It’s really like the in-between match stories in wrestling broadcasts. It got to a point where I found I was looking forward to the drama rather than the sports talk.

    I got help. I cancelled cable.

  3. redwingfan1234 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:03 AM

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that ESPN has had a cultural ‘adgenda’ since removing Woody Paige from the show. They exchanged an interesting format for Fox News style screaming and yelling, with marionette Skip Bayless arguing against Stephen A Smith/Jamelle Hill/Rob Parker/Two Live Stus/Lil Wayne. I haven’t been able to watch that show in years.

  4. rr2000k says: Dec 17, 2012 10:05 AM

    Get rid of Bayless too!

  5. newkirk850 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:07 AM

    ESPN cancel first take? I doubt they will. All they care about is ratings. That show and those two clowns aren’t worth the time.

  6. ocgunslinger says: Dec 17, 2012 10:08 AM

    I am surprised this became public knowledge because there is a reason why hardly anyone watches CNN.

  7. intergalacticbronco says: Dec 17, 2012 10:08 AM

    ESPN has been garbage for years now and try to avoid their website and never tune into the channel unless I am at a sports bar. I think Mark Cuban said it best when he called Skip Bayless out for being the low substance reality tv type he truly is. If you haven’t seen that you should Google it.

  8. acmepackers says: Dec 17, 2012 10:08 AM

    Cancel it. It’s unwatchable anyway

  9. txprelude says: Dec 17, 2012 10:09 AM

    I disagee, Larrydavidstern. While you’re right that Rob Parker’s comments were rude and worthless, I personally thought it was great that PFT is calling him out on it.

    In fact, I’ve been reading PFT for a long time but I made a login after reading this article. This is exactly what people sign in to read: 1) insight into thoughts of ESPN employees 2) background on Parker’s provocative past 3) opinion on what should be done moving forward.

    So to you, PFT – thank you, great read. To Parker, hope they make an example out of you for people who continue to promote racial divides for personal gain. Cheers to RGIII, coming from a Cowboys fan.

  10. jkb0162 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:11 AM

    Well said Smith. This show used to serve a purpose and the debate portion was only part of the show. But in recent years it has become a soap opera masquerading as sports talk. I stopped watching the show last year when it became the Tim Tebow network, and now I think it’s time for it to go.

  11. dlc618 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:11 AM

    ESPN is garbage now.

  12. adderalljack says: Dec 17, 2012 10:11 AM

    I stopped taking them seriously years ago. I’ll tune in for games, but that’s about it. I can get all of the other stuff (highlights, commentary, etc) elsewhere, without the over-the-top bs.

  13. onermedboxer says: Dec 17, 2012 10:12 AM

    As much as I love having a channel that feeds me sports 24/7, ESPN has become less and less professional throughout the years

  14. wwwfella says: Dec 17, 2012 10:12 AM

    first take is an abomination. ive always said skip bayless is trying to be howard stern but the difference is while stern is controversial at least he believes what he says. bayless doesnt..he couldnt because its to outrages.

  15. vincespowersweep says: Dec 17, 2012 10:13 AM

    This kind of crap is exactly why, other than actual games, I don’t watch ESPN any more.

  16. kelvinmchale says: Dec 17, 2012 10:14 AM

    Where is the outrage and grandstanding by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson over Rob Parker’s comments? That’s what I thought.

  17. jimmygrahamchrisivory says: Dec 17, 2012 10:14 AM

    It’s not what Parker said, but the tone and wording that he said it in. If this wasn’t a person that had history of being an attention grabber or provacative, then I’m sure everyone would take this serious and not quick to call him a racist or idiot.

    If this was key Black public figures from the 60/70s such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Maya Angelou, or MLK and Malcolm X if they were still alive, people that preached having self pride, there wouldn’t be much outrage and people would actually listen. What I took from Parker’s comments is that he was trying to make a point about the lack of black cultural icons/role models in the entertainment industry today like they were decades ago, but he settled for cheapness by mentioning things about RGIII’s that aren’t really important. The fact of the matter is guys like Griffin and Cam are in prime position to be huge role models to the younger black generation by speaking out more about the rich history of the african/black culture before being forced into slavery and what it means to be Black, but a lot of people today, athletes and rappers included, are more worried about making the most money and having fame while keeping their mouth shut about the real issues involving their race in order to not lose money making opportunities.

    As a Black man myself, I could see how Parker or anyone else could take issue with RGIII’s comments about not wanting to be defined by his race because it would come off as if he’s ashamed of being black. But at the same time, going about the way Parker did by calling him out on having a white fiancee’ or being a republican is the wrong way to go about it. As a older black man, Parker should be trying to help RGIII and a lot of other young brothers instead of putting him down through the media.

  18. sportsmeccabi says: Dec 17, 2012 10:14 AM

    I founs that question about the lions defensive coordinator pretty funny actually.

  19. cooklynn17 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:17 AM

    Just fire this clueless idiot already and wish him a Merry Christmas…

  20. mavajo says: Dec 17, 2012 10:18 AM

    The only “thorny issue” is that Parker hasn’t been fired yet.

  21. ppc50 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:18 AM

    I like First Take and the old Cold Pizza, but it is a show of a couple of egomaniacs bragging about their weekly picks, career experience, and Stephen Smith’s bias towards his “buddies” in the NBA. It is obvious why they run the show 3x a day – it is cheap to make and even cheaper to re-run. It’s funny how Stephen Smith talks smack, but always backs off saying that it isn’t “personal”, because he may run into the guys in the club or they won’t give him a future interview. I actually like Bayless – he wrote in the SF Bay Area for years, as well as in Dallas. I find him a funny cartoon like character. The new host is rather hot, but Parker has always been a joke, looking to be “edgy”. Parker just blew his TV career, that was going no where anyway.

  22. manilarizzo says: Dec 17, 2012 10:19 AM

    Espn used to be great. Ever since the NFL network and CSN emerged they’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to become something else.

    How about dialing it back to just 3 ESPN channels instead of 33. Won’t have so much time to fill with so much crap.

  23. ppc50 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:19 AM

    I like First Take and the old Cold Pizza, but it is a show of a couple of egomaniacs bragging about their weekly picks, career experience, and Stephen Smith’s bias towards his “buddies” in the NBA. It is obvious why they run the show 3x a day – it is cheap to make and even cheaper to re-run. It’s funny how Stephen Smith talks smack, but always backs off saying that it isn’t “personal”, because he may run into the guys in the club or they won’t give him a future interview. I actually like Bayless – he wrote in the SF Bay Area for years, as well as in Dallas. I find him a funny cartoon like character. The new host is rather hot, but Parker has always been a joke, looking to be “edgy”. Parker just blew his TV career, that was going no where anyway.

  24. nyyjetsknicks says: Dec 17, 2012 10:19 AM

    Do people not understand all they do is troll? Stop watching to see what stupid things they’ll say next and they’ll be off the air soon enough.

  25. ppc50 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:20 AM

    I like First Take and the old Cold Pizza, but it is a show of a couple of egomaniacs bragging about their weekly picks, career experience, and Stephen Smith’s bias towards his “buddies” in the NBA. It is obvious why they run the show 3x a day – it is cheap to make and even cheaper to re-run. It’s funny how Stephen Smith talks smack, but always backs off saying that it isn’t “personal”, because he may run into the guys in the club or they won’t give him a future interview. I actually like Bayless – he wrote in the SF Bay Area for years, as well as in Dallas. I find him a funny cartoon like character. The new host is rather hot, but Parker has always been a joke, looking to be “edgy”. Parker just blew his TV career, that was going no where anyway.

  26. udontknowjacku says: Dec 17, 2012 10:20 AM

    ESPN has went down hill FAST….It is nothing but panels of 5 screaming over each other and showing hightlights of the same 5 people everyday…COVER the sports like the old days so I can enjoy a cup of coffee and catch up on what I missed..

  27. htown1035 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:20 AM

    ESPN is now all about ratings – why do you think all they talk about is Tebow?

  28. rc33 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:20 AM

    ESPN still “reviewing” his comments? Outstanding.
    It can take weeks to review comments.
    Clowns.

  29. catfanatic1979v1 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:21 AM

    It is okay to say outrageous things but you don’t act like a Black Panther on the air. His comments were intentially racist with the desire to force Griffin to change his ways by using media pressure against him. This is the lowest act imaginable and he should be gone already.

  30. packersrule12 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:21 AM

    “I got help. I cancelled cable.”
    ________________
    Me too. I’m down to rabbit ears and I’m just fine with that. Going on two years now.

  31. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 17, 2012 10:23 AM

    I stopped watching when Woody left and they brought in Stephen A. Smith. It’s a side show and I got tired of all the yelling to make Skip look good.

  32. tincansailor981 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:24 AM

    ESPN has expanded way beyond relevance. What began as a good idea has morphed into non-stop blathering by talking heads who are more interesting in ratings than any actual attempt at journalism. In their zeal to be the first to report breaking sports news, they too often get their facts dead wrong. Moreover, their commentators suck more and more and their daily reporting is stale and lifeless. I’d rather see a muted video ticker-tape of sports highlights than the over-saturated, psycho-babble they spew at us ad infinitum. Parker, Bayless, Berman, Scott, and definitely Stephen A. all need to join the ranks of the unemployed.

  33. jimmygrahamchrisivory says: Dec 17, 2012 10:24 AM

    It’s not what Parker said, but the tone and wording that he said it in. If this wasn’t a person that had history of being an attention grabber or provacative, then I’m sure everyone would take this serious and not quick to call him a racist or idiot.

    If this was key Black public figures from the 60/70s such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Maya Angelou, or MLK and Malcolm X if they were still alive, people that preached having self pride, there wouldn’t be much outrage and people would actually listen. What I took from Parker’s comments is that he was trying to make a point about the lack of black cultural icons/role models in the entertainment industry today like they were decades ago, but he settled for cheapness by mentioning things about RGIII that aren’t really important. The fact of the matter is guys like Griffin and Newton are in prime position to be huge role models to the younger black generation by speaking out more about the rich history of the african/black culture before being forced into slavery and what it means to be Black, but a lot of people today, athletes and rappers included, are more worried about making the most money and having mainstream fame while keeping their mouth shut about the real issues involving their race in order to not lose money making opportunities.

    As a Black man myself, I could see how Parker or anyone else could take issue with RGIII’s comments about not wanting to be defined by his race because it would come off as if he’s ashamed of being black. But at the same time, going about the way Parker did by defining his blackness based on having a white fiancee’ or possibly being a republican is the wrong way to go about it. As a older black man, Parker should be trying to help and guide RGIII and a lot of other young brothers instead of putting him down through the media.

  34. illinininer says: Dec 17, 2012 10:25 AM

    I don’t know why anyone would watch it. It’s completely staged, Bayless purposely disagrees with whoever sits down across from him. I use sports to escape the conflicts of life why would I spend my mornings listening to people bicker like drama craving women?

  35. glac1 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:28 AM

    Why did they hire him? Because ESPN tends to be liberal spin off of msnbc. When I tune in to a sports channel I want sports instead of listening to “so called experts” give their opinion on everything. That’s the beauty of sports…final scores and stats. Black and white. No Gray area.

  36. ccjcsr says: Dec 17, 2012 10:28 AM

    Trying to make a name for himself, and backfired. Too bad ESPN couldn’t hide this like they did with Mike Tirico incident in the past with stalking etc.

  37. imback03 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:29 AM

    And by rehashing this story for the 4th or 5th time, your different how? They suspended him already let it go. You also are misrepresenting what Parker said to make it more inflammatory for your “ratings”.

  38. jagsfan1 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:30 AM

    So we are left to figure out for ourselves whether Rob Parker was or wasn’t “down with the cause” over at ESPN

  39. MyTeamsAllStink says: Dec 17, 2012 10:33 AM

    Why is it as children we are all taught together an education and to be well spoken and to grow up to be a productive member of society and to do better with your life.And when somebody does just that we immediately look down in them and call them “sellouts” and try to find reasons to bring them down?Because RG3 doesn’t smack around women and walks with a gangster limp and doesn’t end each sentence ya know what I’m sayin?hes a sellout.No he’s intelligent.

  40. tvguy22 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:35 AM

    I think this was the first time that Screamin’ A. Smith said something I agreed with.

  41. soforizo says: Dec 17, 2012 10:35 AM

    I like watching First Take as comedic relief, but there was nothing funny in Rob Parker’s comment.

    Fire Rob and whoever decided to re-air it twice.

  42. seatownballers says: Dec 17, 2012 10:37 AM

    Everyone is allowed an opinion, but this is silly. I say this cause im a white man that married a black woman. Does that mean I’m not authentically white?

  43. seatownballers says: Dec 17, 2012 10:38 AM

    Everyone is allowed an opinion, but this is silly. I say this cause im a white man that married a black woman. Does that mean I’m not authentically white?

  44. mizzouram says: Dec 17, 2012 10:39 AM

    This is going to happen until someone decides to buck up and really give us a legit alternative to ESPN.

    He also, apparently, questions the “blackness” of an African American who votes Republican, BTW .

  45. jaxbeachjagfan says: Dec 17, 2012 10:40 AM

    I just can’t see how Parker still has a job with ESPN after Rush Limbaugh was fired almost instantly for MUCH less egregious comments about D. McNabb.

    What’s the deal here?

  46. joecool16280 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:41 AM

    Until there is a legitimate alternative ESPN will continue this trend because they’re a monopoly.

    Hopefully there will be an ‘Apple’ like company -compared to Microsoft- to rise up and push content and taste over sheer volume and histrionics.

  47. rich4567 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:44 AM

    ESPN says it is reviewing Parker’s comments, but really, what is there to review? Parker believes there’s something wrong with a black man falling in love with a white woman.

    You guys might want to review Parker’s comments youtselves If thats what you think he believes.

  48. addict2sport says: Dec 17, 2012 10:50 AM

    As bad as Parker’s comments are, and as bad as First Take is, the sad part about all of this is the ratings ESPN continues to get from this filth. They won’t cancel anything as long as people continue to watch. Sadly, why should they?

  49. electionconfidential says: Dec 17, 2012 10:51 AM

    Suspended is just code for time off without pay. ESPN would have already fired him if they really thought it was the proper course of action. Instead they’re just watching the ratings and gauging public reaction over time.

    Unless there is sustained public outrage and significant damage to the ratings Parker will be back.

    I can understand why they want provocative people. What I don’t understand is why they want people with inferior intellects. Parker doesn’t belong on that show and always comes off looking like the dumbest guy on the set.

  50. machester52 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:53 AM

    ESPN sucks.

  51. faultylogic29 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:53 AM

    I used to watch ESPN quite a bit. Then they started shows with idiots like Skip Bayless, and at that point I just kept to watching Sportscenter and ESPN News. Then those shows stopped showing much along the line of highlights and spent more time covering off the field drama, and I stopped bothering to watch them.

    Nowadays I enjoy 30 for 30 and NFC/AFC Match-Up from time to time, and I vote with my remote the rest of the time. ESPN really has become largely garbage. No worries, I can get actual highlights and real analysis elsewhere.

  52. farmmbig says: Dec 17, 2012 10:55 AM

    That program (First Take) seems to be perfect example of where our media is at these days..

    It’s grown more important to get the “First Take” rather than the “Right Take”—- Even if it means it’s the “Worst Take”.

    I’m blessed to be employed during the part of day when their show is on– So I don’t even have the option of watching it.

    ESPN is no longer on in my house– I turned it off completely now. I used to watch a good part of their NFL Gameday Progam… No more!

  53. mjamesmi says: Dec 17, 2012 10:56 AM

    Wow, I can’t believe that no one from the Detroit area has posted something about Parker and RGIII’s backup, Cousins. When Parker was in Detroit he wrote an erroneous and malicious story about Cousins, who is about as good a kid as you can imagine, and had to personally apologize to the family… Google Parker and Cousins and you will see!

  54. slvrnblk4lf says: Dec 17, 2012 10:57 AM

    ESPN has turned into a classless programming network. It makes me wonder how Disney, who’s reputation is excellent, would allow one of its child networks grow into a debacle and obviously a biased and disrespectful station.

  55. rickeydynamite25 says: Dec 17, 2012 10:57 AM

    ESPN is a machine and they want ratings. Of course that’s means dropping some bombs on air to draw more ratings, and then when the TV police starts going after them, they can simply fire the culprit and replace them like a piece on a chess board. They do it all the time.

  56. angrycorgi says: Dec 17, 2012 10:57 AM

    ESPN pays public trolls to be on TV and then instructs mzinga to ban anyone that even incites debate on their forums. They love to be the a-hole, but can’t stand being surrounded by other a-holes.

  57. rajbais says: Dec 17, 2012 11:08 AM

    My advice Is to cancel “ESPN First take”.

    It is a disgraceful show and also insulting to people who are trying to seek employment.

    How would you feel when somebody can say anything they want and get paid a high amount of money for it?

    Skip Bayless makes Gene Chizik look like he has academic value when Chisik has had a losing record for his career, Then fired by Auburn, and got him and his staff paid $11 million in a buyout.

    I do not believe that Rob Parker should be unemployed or be fired by ESPN Because Jemele Hill and Dana Jacobson said possibly worse or equally as bad Of things as Parker did.

    I do believe that Parker was enabled and poorly influenced to the point where he would make comments that were very unacceptable, But he too was responsible for what he said.

    Where could I come to a conclusion where I would believe that he was Enabled or poorly influenced?

    Is it wrong to point out how “ESPN First take” has had a bad ratings history. If people read “ESPN the book” by James Andrew Miller they would know that the history of bad ratings and the need to juice up To improve has been prevalent.

    If they also read Jason Whitlock’s column about how he referred to Stephen a Smith as a “sellout” (But a man whom he considers as “a friend”) They would realize that the need for ratings has gone way too far.

    Whether is using Tim Tebow excessively or getting on LeBron James or Terrell Owens Reports and columns have pointed out about how these Guys have been used as debate props And have been made to be polarizing to the point where multiple debaters would scream the heck out of each other on these guys.

    The constant need for reformatting the show has ruined ESPN2′s brand and it is a waste of time and money. Plus, you are rewarding people who have failed When they need to be out of the business You will continuously ruin your brand even further. This show has outlived its deserved existence and it has got to go.

    If this show has debaters pointing out how certain individuals need to be kicked out of franchises or institutions because they have a negative influence on the franchise well the producers or any minds behind the show and the show itself need to go.
    The need to have the show and it be re-created has polluted the minds and the credibility of guys who could be more respectable. There are enough shows where people like Skip Bayless and Stephen a Smith could find air time on, but they do not need “First Take” In order to have themselves deemed as “employed” by ESPN.

  58. dukemarc says: Dec 17, 2012 11:09 AM

    ESPN used to be on every waking hour at my house. Now I only watch the occasional College Football game and one round of Sportscenter recaps a few times a week.

  59. deeppurple23 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:10 AM

    Parker/ESPN are promoting racism. If Parker was white and made the exact same comment, he would have been fired on Friday, period. The fact that we are still talking about this idiot is insulting. Fire him now, for cause.

  60. sc711 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:12 AM

    ESPN’s first take makes a mockery of sports. Get rid of first take and get Bill Polian his own show, I never miss him on Sirius, best insight on pro football I have ever heard.

  61. commonsensedude says: Dec 17, 2012 11:19 AM

    I can’t watch ESPN. As much as I dislike the NFL propaganda machine run by Goodell, I find the NFL Network infinitely more watchable than anything that ESPN puts on the air. And ESPN Radio is almost as bad.

    I am tired of clowns like Parker. They should not only let Parker walk but also whoever it was who approved putting it back on the air over and over again. I’m sure he can find good work as one of the crazy guests Fox News brings on the air from time to time (“why is it that when America comes to the cereal isle, Rice Crispies are on the top row … and Cocoa Puffs are on the bottom … it’s a conspiracy!”).

    And as a black man I’m also highly offended by Parker’s haircut. Will somebody please give the guy directions to a barber shop?

  62. johnnyoclock says: Dec 17, 2012 11:23 AM

    He ha sto be fired for racial insensitivity because a white guy would have. If you don’t think so, then you’re the one guilty of promoting racial inequality. If it had been a white guy this post would be all about firing him. You have to be consistant, because in the face of inconsistency, racial issues are therefore not actually important.

  63. macneil4025 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:24 AM

    ESPN is the worst, it has become the FOX news version of Sports Coverage. Its in your face, not let anybody talk, everybody is trying to say something to get a reaction!! Skip Bayless and Rob Parker are perfect examples of hacks that are employed by ESPN to stir controversy!!

  64. thetooloftools says: Dec 17, 2012 11:26 AM

    Steven A. Smith got a pass for saying “N-word please” about Kobe Bryant. He denied it, but it was right there and ESPN even chopped it out on later playback.

  65. endzonepete says: Dec 17, 2012 11:29 AM

    As a 40 year old man, I can say that I loved ESPN growing up and that SportsCenter was probably my favorite thing to watch on TV.

    I pretty much stopped watching about 10 years ago when it became more about ESPN and less about the sports they were covering.

    IMO, they are ruining sports by making it reality TV. Sports should be about the games and what is done in the field of play, rather than the personal lives of the players, coaches and anyone else that ESPN can stir the pot with.

  66. rips08 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:33 AM

    I am not the first to say this and I agree with a lot of the comments above. ESPN is not a news organization anymore. They promote what they think will grab ratings. “The Decision”, The Longhorn Network and what seemed like a 30 minute commercial for Cam Newton for the Heisman are just a couple of examples.

    They are not trying to report the news anymore, they are an entertainment company trying to get people to watch.

    Thanks to sites like this, I don’t go to ESPN’s website anymore and I only watch it when there is a game that want to see on their networks. I wish I had a choice on that, but since they are partnering with so many games and leagues now, it’s hard to avoid without giving up watching my teams.

  67. gregmorris78 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:37 AM

    Boycott ESPN after all, they are the one’s who chose TWICE to re-air the segment

  68. arson81 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:43 AM

    kelvinmchale says:Dec 17, 2012 10:14 AM

    “Where is the outrage and grandstanding by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson over Rob Parker’s comments? That’s what I thought.”

    Probably in the same place that Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck keep their outrage and grandstanding on anything to do with race.

    What difference does it make?

  69. raynman49 says: Dec 17, 2012 11:45 AM

    I long for the old days, when there was Aussie rules football. First Take is a joke.

  70. mazblast says: Dec 17, 2012 11:45 AM

    I’m old enough to remember when ESPN was about the games, not about talking about the games or talking about talking about the games.

    That makes me pretty darned old.

    Memo to ESPN: Every hour this d-bag is not officially FIRED is an hour in which you lose viewers. Personally, I don’t care what the circumstances are, so long as Parker is employed or “suspended”, I am not watching, period, and if I am in any location where ESPN is on the screen, I shall request that the channel be changed.

  71. inallsincerity says: Dec 17, 2012 11:47 AM

    Parker was trying to raise a valid point, but did so the wrong way.

  72. briggsweatbird says: Dec 17, 2012 11:55 AM

    I haven’t watched Take Your Cold Pizza First, or is it, First Take Your Cold Pizza, in years.

    The “arguments’ they have on that show were embarrassing, mostly led by Skip Bayless.

    Thank goodness Woody Paige had the sense to disassociate himself from the show years ago.

    Really, is ESPN much different from TMZ?

  73. sanityinsd says: Dec 17, 2012 11:58 AM

    To you Mr. Michael David Smith…

    A great big THANK YOU from readers like me who wait patiently for an intelligently written article on PFT. This was a Walk-Off in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7. Congratulations.

  74. snafie says: Dec 17, 2012 11:58 AM

    The people who run these networks are not stupid. They air what the data – in the form of ratings – tell them you are watching. Ratings are the measurement of the problem; they are not the problem.

    Sadly the ratings don’t lie. It isn’t only sports programming. The Learning Channel was dedicated to educational programming, but became “TLC”, the home of “What Not To Wear”, “Say Yes To The Dress” and other garbage targeted to women. The History Channel was dedicated to history but became the home of “Storage Wars” and several pawn shop reality shows. ESPN is now the home of male-targeted drama. Even The Food Network brings drama to the kitchen every chance it gets. And those younger than I can comment on the state of “Music Television” (MTV) – so far removed from its original intent that you can’t even recognize it any more.

    Every one of these networks, including ESPN, made the switch to staged drama (won’t even call it “reality”) because not enough people watched learning, history, cooking shows, music videos or legitimate sports programming to make it profitable.

    It’s simple. Junk sells. The day it stops selling is the day you’ll get your sports programming (and legitimate journalism) back.

  75. nflofficeadmin says: Dec 17, 2012 12:04 PM

    Cancel your cable. Keep your internet.

  76. fwippel says: Dec 17, 2012 12:07 PM

    ESPN loses any credibility they have left every day that passes that they keep Parker on the payroll.

  77. sgtmofo says: Dec 17, 2012 12:20 PM

    He sounds like a prime candidate to be paired up with Eric Kuselias on NBCSports Network. Together, they can make the ratings lower than they already are.

  78. farmmbig says: Dec 17, 2012 12:23 PM

    I hope the NFL remembers this when the contract with ESPN runs-out.

    It’s time to break the cord with that Network and let them go— and ALL of their “parkers”

  79. ipitydafu says: Dec 17, 2012 12:37 PM

    I have no problems not watching ESPN. The only thing I watched there was NFL games, and I can pirate those. ESPN is unnecessary for me. I could no longer care what they do. I will never watch that network again. They have lost me as a viewer.

  80. anpsteel says: Dec 17, 2012 12:38 PM

    ESPN jumped the shark a long time ago. Their version of sports reporting is near un-watchable. The grand standing – and hyperbole is constant, and beyond annoying.

    If they want to have reality tv as sports reporting- they’d be much better served by putting that on it’s own channel- and naming it something else- because the brand ESPN- has been severely tainted.

  81. Stiller43 says: Dec 17, 2012 12:39 PM

    I actually think that question he asked is pretty funny…as long as he wasnt serious…but how could you be if you ask that

  82. cmgww says: Dec 17, 2012 12:42 PM

    Read “Those Guys Have All The Fun” for a good inside look at how ESPN operates….they force out employees who don’t fit their agenda, or those employees see the light and move on. I miss Dan/Keith on the 11pm SC. Heck the only people I recognize from the old days are Fowler, Linda Cohn (why hasn’t she moved on?), and a few others. The problems really began when they were bought by Disney. They killed ABC sports (detailed in the book), and aside from a few sports properties are now a monopoly. Parker and his racist comments are just a symptom of the bigger problem; ESPN is now controlling sports news instead of reporting on it. Except for games, I rarely watch their programming. The 30 for 30s have been good, but they are simply aired by ESPN, and created by outside directors/ producers. Change the channel. In the words of the great Charlie Steiner..”follow me! Follow me to freedom!!!”

  83. mrrooch says: Dec 17, 2012 12:57 PM

    Agree with most above.

    The best “talk” shows ESPN have are “Mike and Mike” and “SVP and Rusillo”. They have a level of class, intelligence, and humor that First Takes so dreadfully lacks. Like most, each time I try to give First Take a chance, I quickly change the channel. Skip is a clown, a poor example of a journalist.

  84. emperorzero says: Dec 17, 2012 12:59 PM

    ESPN’s target audience has been 12 year-olds and those unlucky enough to be stuck working at McDonalds.

    Outside of College Gameday and Baseball Tonight, there is nothing worth watching on ESPN.

  85. japmen says: Dec 17, 2012 1:03 PM

    I think it’s too little too late. ESPN has being going downhill for a long time and noticing after the camel’s back is broken is just not going to fix things. Skip has acknowledged on air that he has no clue what he’s talking about or even covering most of the time. If you want to be taken seriously, you need experts and professionals. That doesnt mean you just hire popular retired players either. eeven though they are usually fairly accurate and a lot better than Skip, Rob, Berman,etc. Berman is popular but he’s far from an expert

  86. dikshuttle says: Dec 17, 2012 1:13 PM

    I don’t see the problem here. There are plenty of people who take Parker’s position. They deserve a voice.

    It’s now open to debate. Yes. It’s a circus. So what?

  87. junglerat524 says: Dec 17, 2012 1:15 PM

    People still watch First Take? Who knew?

  88. granadafan says: Dec 17, 2012 1:19 PM

    ESPN is becoming like MTV. Who remembers when MTV used to show music videos? ESPN is getting away from showing sports and has moved towards talk shows and games.

  89. cliffordc05 says: Dec 17, 2012 1:28 PM

    Excellent post. I was wondering about Parker’s background. I found his comments on First Take to be offensive and the Marinelli question to be rude. It is hard to believe he has not been fired.

  90. mungman69 says: Dec 17, 2012 1:30 PM

    I haven’t watched that show in a long time. Bayless and most of the other clowns are minor league.

  91. juliodamfoolio says: Dec 17, 2012 1:54 PM

    cliffordc05 says:
    Dec 17, 2012 1:28 PM
    Excellent post. I was wondering about Parker’s background. I found his comments on First Take to be offensive and the Marinelli question to be rude. It is hard to believe he has not been fired.

    Actually, it’s not hard at all to believe that. It’s because of the double-standard out there today that certain groups of people can get away with saying asinine things that other groups can’t, and we all now what I’m talking about. ESPN can take a small step toward credibility by firing this idiotic clown, cancelling the moronic First Take and start to get back to real sports reporting.

  92. sfm073 says: Dec 17, 2012 2:23 PM

    In the end as long as it gets good ratings the show and it’s format style will stay on the air.

  93. hotlantalaw says: Dec 17, 2012 2:39 PM

    ESPN has no credibility and has not had credibility for a long while. Its quest for the mighty dollar and lack of an active ombudsman has been apparent for a long time.

  94. jeffesky says: Dec 17, 2012 2:55 PM

    ESPN has gone the way of MTV

  95. cags777 says: Dec 17, 2012 5:02 PM

    Excellent post, Mr. Smith. Perhaps if they cancel ESPN First Take, they will focus on better teams and better athletes as opposed to Tim Tebow and the New York Jets.

  96. winormove says: Dec 17, 2012 5:52 PM

    Take what this Jerk has to say with a grain of Salt. He is a loudmouth reporter who has finally been held accountable for his idiotic comments. He’s the same idiot who asked Rod Marinelli, when he was Head coach of the Lions, if he wished that his Daughter had married a better Defensive Coordinator (His Son in Law, Joe Barry, was Defensive Coordinator at the time). He’s a loser. I’m shocked he still has a job.

  97. raiderapologist says: Dec 17, 2012 8:16 PM

    I read somewhere that Bob bought his fiance a Bentley before he signed with the Redskins. Doesn’t that bring racial harmony to the world?

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