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Rob Parker on RG3 comments: “I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry”

Austin Rivers - First Take - September 19, 2012

Rob Parker, the ESPN commentator who was suspended after saying on the air that he questions whether Robert Griffin III is authentically black because he is engaged to a white woman, has now issued an apology.

Although Parker initially defended his comments and called his critics “silly” and “uneducated,” Parker said in the statement he posted on Twitter today that after six days to reflect, he has seen the error of his ways.

I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry,” Parker wrote. “I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert’s thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one. I regrettably introduced some points that I never should have and I completely understand the strong response to them, including ESPN’s reaction. Perhaps most importantly, the attention my words have brought to one of the best and brightest stars in all of sports is an unintended and troubling result. Robert Griffin III is a talented athlete who not only can do great things on the field, but off the field handles himself in a way we are all taught – with dignity, respect and pride. I’ve contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.”

ESPN has not said how long Parker will be suspended, or whether his role will change going forward. But the issues with Parker and his role on ESPN run deeper than one comment about Griffin. Parker was hired on First Take exactly because ESPN looks for provocative, controversial, argumentative commentators to appear on that show. Parker has long been known for inflammatory rhetoric, and that’s exactly what he has given ESPN. He crossed the line with his Griffin comments, but the larger issue is that ESPN hired Parker precisely because it wanted someone who would tiptoe right up against the line.

So while Parker’s apology is an appropriate step, it remains to be seen whether he or ESPN will show they’re sincere by making positive changes to the way they affect the sports discourse.

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67 Responses to “Rob Parker on RG3 comments: “I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry””
  1. buffalobills2012 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:27 PM

    Im sure his representation wrote that. This dude is a bum. Theres like 10,562 correspondents at ESPN. On to the next, on, on to the next one (I got a million ways to get it).

  2. prince5000 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:27 PM

    Translation: I’m really a small minded racist, but i REALLY want to keep my job. Why ESPN hasn’t fired him yet is beyond me.

  3. tannethrill says: Dec 19, 2012 2:27 PM

    Parker is uncomfortable on TV and simply isn’t very good.

  4. bigjdve says: Dec 19, 2012 2:27 PM

    My issue is that how do you believe him? He has done this in the past. The subject of race is in sports is covered alot.

    I personally think that there are healthy ways to discuss it and they should be.

    Is this apology because he truly feels that way or because he is losing money?

  5. pryor4heisman says: Dec 19, 2012 2:28 PM

    Sent this clown back to DTown…

  6. dbones750 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:28 PM

    What’s the phrase? Too little, too late? Bob3 don’t care what you got to say in the first place. You can put that apology where the sun don’t shine.

  7. shaggytoodle says: Dec 19, 2012 2:29 PM

    That’s what Cheesehead.

  8. marshawnlynchlookslikepredator says: Dec 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    Apology accepted… Oh wait, you’re fired!

  9. stillers7 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    are we still uneducated and silly?

  10. Sometimes Interesting says: Dec 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    Parker doesn’t speak like that. Hard to believe he, and not a publicist, wrote it.

  11. buddysguys says: Dec 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    what a chump stick up for what you said. You lost your job stop backtracking and stick by your story.

  12. overweightman says: Dec 19, 2012 2:33 PM

    Real men apologize on twitter…

  13. wwwfella says: Dec 19, 2012 2:33 PM

    he’s not sorry he’s trying to get his azz out of hot water. i have even less respect for him now. be a man and stick by what you said even if it was dumb as hell.

  14. kja22 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:33 PM

    Get rid of him. One less idiot on the mothership.

  15. jwil444 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:34 PM

    “That might be the most sincere and honest apology I’ve ever heard in my life”……….said nobody.

  16. blackandbluedivision says: Dec 19, 2012 2:37 PM

    Most people who are sincerely sorry apologize pretty soon afterwards. He should still be fired. This was a PR move to get his job back. He’s not sorry. He’s sorry for the backlash, not what he said.

  17. johnnyresults says: Dec 19, 2012 2:38 PM

    What does this have to do with Tim Tebow? surely if this aired on ESPN the segment must have related to him somehow, right? ESPN is garbage anymore…

  18. whitdog23 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:38 PM

    a Twitter apology? should apologize known-air and in same tIme slot comment was made. how is a Twitter apology acceptable?

  19. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    If espn doesn’t fire him then they approve of his actions. Other so called”racial mistakes” have cost people their jobs. Not firing him would say to me that espn thinks African Americans can say what they want without fear for their jobs, but not everybody else….hmmmm?

  20. mcmeen0576 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    At times like this I am reminded of the brilliant words of JoJo….You know its just too little too late

  21. spharrgcs says: Dec 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    It reads like the classic steriods apology. “I’m not sorry I took them but I am sorry I lied about it.” He isn’t sorry that he expressed his opinion, just sorry that he didn’t have the self-control to filter his true feelings in a manner that was more objective and appropriate for the ears and minds of the general sports public. Of course in one week his opinion on where he thinks Griffin stands in the minds of those who do ‘support the cause’ hasn’t changed one iota. But he had to say something in order to try and hang on to this job, or at least something contrite he can offer future employers who surely will bring up this outburst in a job interview.

  22. tundey says: Dec 19, 2012 2:40 PM

    ESPN hasn’t fired him because this is what they hired him for. Sure maybe he went a little beyond the line but the entire show is meant to fire people up. Don’t forget that ESPN re-aired the segment twice (and once as a “best of “).

  23. tmcb7 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:40 PM

    RP: To late. Damage done.

    If ESPN keeps this clown, they deserve what they get too. This should be unacceptable, no matter the mouth it comes out of.

  24. electionconfidential says: Dec 19, 2012 2:42 PM

    Parker showed his true colors that day. He also showed a heavy lack of judgment. You can’t cure those things with a lecture and a suspension. If they bring him back he’ll do it again. It’s who he is. His time in Detroit shows that he doesn’t learn…

  25. ampats says: Dec 19, 2012 2:49 PM

    As a uneducated and silly viewer of the show, I hope to never have to see or read another comment by Rob Parker

  26. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Dec 19, 2012 2:50 PM

    It always strikes me how when they talk about RGIII on ESPN a lot of the time they talk about how well spoken he is like it is a huge shock.

  27. bostontim says: Dec 19, 2012 2:53 PM

    This apology was written by someone a whole lot smarter than Parker.

    Cheers, BostonTim

  28. FinFan68 says: Dec 19, 2012 2:54 PM

    It is less about what he actually said and more about the mindset that caused him to say it. Bigots/racists usually at least know they feel that way. This guy was unaware that he said anything inflammatory at all and even demeaned his critics on the matter. He seems to think that because he is an “authentic” black man, he has the right to make racist\racially charged statements. Now he apologizes because of pressure. The fact remains that this idiot is a racist and does not deserve a national podium to spout his race-baiting drivel. Now that a publicist or lawyer has provided his apology, it’s time to get rid of this clown.

  29. hawkforlife says: Dec 19, 2012 2:54 PM

    “I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. ”
    —————-

    So you mean that RG3 is still not a black man and shouldn’t be with a white woman but you should have said it more gracefully. What a clown.

  30. weepingjebus says: Dec 19, 2012 2:55 PM

    My guess is that Mr. Parker just realized his credit card companies and mortgage lender are also not down with “the cause.”

  31. mojosmagic says: Dec 19, 2012 2:58 PM

    If Parker was white he would have lost his job.

  32. snaponrules says: Dec 19, 2012 3:00 PM

    You would have to be “silly”and “uneducated,” to believe this guys BS apology. He is only looking to get his paycheck back.
    Because really, who else in the world of sports “reporting” would hire this racist?

  33. rugolin says: Dec 19, 2012 3:02 PM

    He has not really changed his views just that he wants his well paying job back and is willing to say anything to get reinstated. The real problem is First Take not just Rob Parker. Skip Bayless and Stephen A Smith are pretty much unlistenable most days as they shout at each other about banal topics with their stupid opinions. They are both dunderheads and should be taken off the air too.

  34. spencerschewtoy says: Dec 19, 2012 3:03 PM

    Best of luck to you, Rob. I guess despite the holiday season, most people are too busy spewing venom to entertain thoughts of mercy and forgiveness. Hopefully, ESPN is not so quick to engage in such such blanket condemnation and rank judgment. Regardless, may you sincerely learn from this experience, measure your future words and deeds more carefully, and emerge from it all as a better man.

  35. noquickreactionshere says: Dec 19, 2012 3:05 PM

    tundey says:
    Dec 19, 2012 2:40 PM
    ESPN hasn’t fired him because this is what they hired him for. Sure maybe he went a little beyond the line but the entire show is meant to fire people up. Don’t forget that ESPN re-aired the segment twice (and once as a “best of “).

    ________________________

    ESPN hired Rush Limbaugh for the same reason and fired him for a similar comment (Actually a slightly less provocative comment). He needs to be fired, his line of thinking is what is holding ALL OF US back.

  36. whatjusthapped says: Dec 19, 2012 3:11 PM

    What do you make of an apology issued a week after the fact? Insincere? Not heartfelt?

    Let’s face it, he is on the verge of being fired and it represented his last chance to get back on the air and it still took him a week to put this garbage out.

    ESPN has nothing against idiots, look at Skip Bayless as Exhibit A, but there is one thing that ESPN cannot tolerate, its a racist idiot.

  37. 69finfan says: Dec 19, 2012 3:14 PM

    If the Dolphin DB’s could backpedal half as good as Parker they would be in great shape!!

  38. ncm42 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:15 PM

    This “apology” basically amounts to “I’m sorry I said things other people can’t handle hearing”. What an ass.

  39. rajbais says: Dec 19, 2012 3:16 PM

    I never felt that he was a bad guy. I do feel that he should have thought more carefully before speaking, but ESPN needs to end their desperation for attention by going into dangerous territory 24/7.

    That’s why they should cancel the show. They make more than the NFL in yearly profits and they need this garbage spewing their airwaves?

  40. mavajo says: Dec 19, 2012 3:17 PM

    A white guy would be fired right now. Equality swings both ways.

  41. rc33 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:18 PM

    Whatever.
    Bigot..

  42. deshackle says: Dec 19, 2012 3:20 PM

    Apology accepted.

  43. nagaswan says: Dec 19, 2012 3:23 PM

    Did anyone else already point out that when Kirk Cousins was in college Rob Parker wrote a false story about him, which almost resulted in a lawsuit?

  44. bdawkins2 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:25 PM

    All this clamoring for Rob Parker to lose his job for being a small minded racist is completely distracting everyone from the fact that Rob Parker should lose his job because he sucks at it.

  45. nagaswan says: Dec 19, 2012 3:26 PM

    Maybe if Jon Stewart goes on First Take and tells them they are bad people he can get that show cancelled too.

  46. infectorman says: Dec 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    As the saying goes, ” any publicity is good publicity”

    Who really cares if he’s sorry. He is the uneducated person in all of this and we are the infuriated masses.

    Still would like to hear what “the cause” is.

    When does it become OK for African America, Latino America, or any other “American” to strive for excellence, accountability, a better life, a farewell to old negative stereotypes???

  47. phelbin says: Dec 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    This was a “I’m sorry you were offended” non-apology kind of apology. He didn’t say he was wrong, only that he could have said it differently. But at least he promises to be more thoughtful in presenting his ignorant, racist ideas in the future. So, that’s good.

  48. stairwayto7 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    Fire him on national tv!

  49. dukemarc says: Dec 19, 2012 3:29 PM

    This guy has been a jerk long before he got to ESPN – there was a reason he was out of work when he was hired by them.

    Leopards don’t change their spots and if they let him back on air, it’s only a matter of time before he does it again.

  50. paychrisjohnson28 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:31 PM

    Jimmy the Greek got fired by CBS….Rush Limbaugh got fired by ESPN and was rejected for stating similar racist comments…. Al Campanis was rejected after his comments along racial lines… Rob Parker you are fired also !

  51. kingpel says: Dec 19, 2012 3:34 PM

    I am interested in hearing how Mr. Parker responded to other people using bad judgement in front of a microphone. Did he believe Rush Limbaugh should receive a second chance?

  52. goodellhatesfootball says: Dec 19, 2012 3:34 PM

    That’s funny, I checked out his twitter page after the incident and he seemed to be standing firmly behind his comments. Funny how people change their tune once they get a call from their boss and publicist. Anyone with half a brain knows his apology is totally bogus.

  53. stevent92 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:37 PM

    Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign from ESPN for something far, far less severe or inappropriate than what this jerk said.

  54. fwippel says: Dec 19, 2012 3:48 PM

    What’s it take for a guy to get fired from ESPN anyways. Parker’s comments were racists beyond anything I’ve ever heard on that network, and yet he stays? Really?

    Well, maybe if he had said RGIII was overrated because of the media’s (and the league’s) desire to see a black QB do well, then ESPN would have fired him.

    But make a blatantly racist comment about RGIII’s fiance, and about him not “being down for the struggle” (what the heck does that mean?), and you might get suspended if enough people holler about it long enough.

  55. theenutty says: Dec 19, 2012 3:50 PM

    I would still like further explanation on what “the cause” is. Also notice nowhere in that apology did he apologize or explain his clearly bigoted point of view, only that he brought it up.

  56. steelerben says: Dec 19, 2012 3:57 PM

    And, as predicted, here is the backlash to the less than heartfelt apology. This is now nearly a week of free adverting for First Take.

  57. briggsweatbird says: Dec 19, 2012 4:06 PM

    First, I don’t read anywhere in Parker’s statement an admission that WHAT he said was WRONG.

    Second, he says he is sincerely sorry. Yes, I think he is sorry, but not for what he said. He never apologizes for what he said, only for HOW he said it. He does not take back any of what he said.

    A non-apology apology.

  58. ultimatebriand says: Dec 19, 2012 4:13 PM

    It’s really going to be hard to fire this guy. He was just doing what ESPN pays him to do. They replayed his comments on the best of First Take, even. The problem goes deeper then Parker.

  59. brunson80 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:25 PM

    I would appreciate these comments if he said them the next day after the segment aired. Apologizing a week later when you realize you’re in trouble doesn’t cut it.

    And as many have said, he probably didn’t even write it (without, at least, a considerable amount of input).

    Later Rob

  60. zeeman911 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:25 PM

    He was a joke in Detroit, I totally expect this again from the moron, in one form or another!

  61. nicepak381 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:25 PM

    Go hang out with Jimmy the Greek! Two peas …

  62. 49erstim says: Dec 19, 2012 5:03 PM

    This is exactly what these networks want. All the negativity will go away soon and people (not me) will tune in to see what provocative thing gets said next.

  63. Deb says: Dec 19, 2012 5:28 PM

    In high school, several of my black friends tried explaining to me–a white girl–why they disliked another black friend who was an exceptional student, a cheerleader, a candidate for homecoming queen. They said she was trying to be white. It made me sad that achieving made our friend somehow not black enough. It makes me even sadder that years later an educated man like Rob Parker has been selling the same line as those teenage kids. Maybe he’s really figured out what a fool he’s been. But since only a few days ago he thought we were all silly for being offended, I doubt it.

  64. surly1n1nd1anapol1s says: Dec 19, 2012 7:30 PM

    I don’t read this as an apology for lazy thought. He’s sorry he aired his stupidity in public.

  65. mazblast says: Dec 19, 2012 9:28 PM

    As long as he’s on the payroll of ESPN, I’m not watching. Period.

    This is the ONLY way to get the point across to the dimwits who run ESPN. If enough people don’t watch any of their so-called programming, they’ll get the message.

  66. deeppurple23 says: Dec 20, 2012 11:41 AM

    Really a week later and he still thinks he was correct and everyone is against him because he’s black. This is a lame apology. He needs to be gone….

  67. theblowtorchreview says: Dec 20, 2012 10:34 PM

    Next he’ll find religion.

    I’m sorry……..Parker, if white, FIRED!

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