Rob Parker will return to ESPN after 30-day ban for RG3 remarks

ESPN has announced that Rob Parker will be allowed to return to the air after a 30-day suspension for questioning whether Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is authentically black because, among other things, Griffin has a white fiancee.

Marcia Keegan, a Vice President of Production for ESPN, released a statement announcing the duration of Parker’s suspension and vowing that ESPN will take greater care in the way its debates on the show Parker appears on, First Take, are presented going forward.

“ESPN has decided to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days for his comments made on last Thursday’s episode of First Take,” Keegan said. “Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part. To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures. We will continue to discuss important issues in sports on First Take, including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it on First Take. However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better.”

ESPN did not specify what the “appropriate disciplinary measures” were for people other than Parker, or who “the personnel responsible” were other than Parker. But Parker’s suspension is, frankly, ridiculous when compared to other discipline that ESPN has handed out to other employees.

Most notably, a 30-day suspension is the same punishment ESPN gave SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos for asking an NBA analyst this question about Jeremy Lin: “If there’s a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?”

That may have been an unfortunate choice of words, but no one seriously believed that Bretos was attempting to use a racial slur in that question. People who know Bretos, including his Asian-American SportsCenter co-anchor Michael Kim, insisted that Bretos (whose wife is Asian) is a good man who has far too much respect for his audience and the athletes he covers to dream of using a racial slur on the air.

Parker, on the other hand, is widely known as a provocateur who would rather engage in personal attacks than honest debate. Before ESPN hired Parker, he had twice been disciplined by his previous employer, the Detroit News: Once for asking former Lions coach Rod Marinelli an insensitive question about his daughter’s marriage to the Lions’ then-defensive coordinator, and once for erroneously reporting that then-Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins (now Griffin’s backup on the Redskins) had assaulted someone on campus.

Think about what ESPN is doing by giving Parker and Bretos equivalent punishments. ESPN is saying that opposing interracial marriage is no worse than making an unfortunate slip of the tongue. ESPN is saying that Parker, who worked his way up to a job at ESPN by doing everything the wrong way in journalism, deserves no more punishment for a blatantly racist statement than Bretos, who worked his way up to a job at ESPN by being a consummate professional, deserves for an innocent mistake. (It’s also worth noting that when Bretos was alerted to the fact that some people were offended by his word choice, he profusely apologized. When people told Parker on Twitter that they were offended by his racist comments about Griffin, Parker told those people they were “uneducated” and “silly.”)

None of that matters to ESPN, however, because First Take gets pretty good ratings on weekday mornings, and the show garners attention by putting panelists on the air to make outrageous statements. ESPN covets those ratings enough that it’s willing to do anything for them. Even put a panelist on the air who will attack a black man for falling in love with a white woman.

155 responses to “Rob Parker will return to ESPN after 30-day ban for RG3 remarks

  1. If he was white like RG3’s girlfriend he wouldn’t be back, If a white man made a comment about a white player’s black girlfriend he would never be get another job

  2. ESPN should suspend themselves for this move. If he was white, he would be fired, they are treating this employee differently based on his race. If he was not Black, he would be fired. ESPN is racist.

  3. He’s lucky he isn’t white or his 30 day vacation would have been permanent. Got to love the double standard when it comes to racism.

  4. donreid1027 says:
    Dec 20, 2012 2:17 PM
    If he was white like RG3′s girlfriend he wouldn’t be back, If a white man made a comment about a white player’s black girlfriend he would never be get another job

    ___________________________________

    absolutely, great post.

  5. Yeah other ESPN analysts that are white. This is complete BS. Not to mention the fact that he is suspended WITH PAY. So basically its a free vacation for doing something that is as racist as it comes. Unbelieveble and so hypocritical.

  6. 30 day suspension,thats a joke. If he was white, he would no longer have a job at the 4 letter network.

    I have never thought anything Parker has ever said that made sense, so I will continue to change the channel is/when Rob Parker’s ugly mug is shown because I have no interest in hearing anything this racist has to say.

  7. congrats NBC sports, you now have 100% of my clicks and viewership as I’m done with ESPN. This is the final straw.

    How is it not racist that Rush gets fired while this guy gets to keep his gig? what Parker said was far worse, while what Rush said, while insensitive, had a kernel of truth to it.

  8. Maybe it’s time everyone who’s offended stop talking about or writing about First Take. Because ESPN wants us to talk it up.

  9. If Parker were white, he would never be allowed to set foot in an ESPN studio again. Just another example of the double standard when it come to racist comments.

  10. I wish there was a way to cancel ESPN without losing 90% of my channels.

    The only thing ESPN is good for is MNF, and they always get the $hittiest game of the week anyways, so there is really no reason to tune in.

  11. By the way PTF, Parker’s comments did much more than criticize interracial marriage. That was just a part of it. They were about the most racist comments I’ve ever heard, so don’t do Parker any favors by honing in the controversy to one line, because his entire tirade was deplorable.

  12. And the more media coverage that you give this turd is only going to increase ESPN ratings when he returns. Let him do his 30 days in the hole and put him on the back page of the fish wrap section.

  13. If a white guy had said the same about a white man with a black fiancee…He would have 100% been fired. No 30 day suspension. The same should have happened here. It’s very clear there is a different standard of political correctness held towards whites than African Americans. This is a disgrace.

  14. I admit I tried watching 1st Take and had to turn off the TVafter 10 minutes. 2 bags of air droning on ad naeseaum over self promoted topics no one even cares about. And then I guess when their zombie viewers are about to drown on their own drool, they trot out this clown with this 1970’s black panther drivil. It’s almost cartoonish.

  15. double standard, done with the joke known as espn. even though writers on this site have major grammar problems at least these guys are not racists.

  16. OK ESPN SPONSORS, Take Note. I hereby place ESPN commentators on suspension. Not for 30 days, but until this situation is rectified as any other racial issue would be resolved. Players wifes and girlfriends should be off limits as a common courtesy, but allowing blatant racist individuals to continue with employment is unacceptable. I will tune out when these clowns are on. So go ahead and sponsor these idiots.

  17. Who cares what he said. It doesn’t change my moral beliefs about equality among all human beings. You can’t stop ignorance, but you can certainly stop watching it, which is what everyone should do.

  18. If Parker were white blah, blah, blah. I find it funny how middle age, white conservatives can listen to and agree with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter with the hateful, racist , divisive things they spew daily, but are SOOO up in arms what with Rob Parker said. Keep in mind if your white princess brought home a black prom date, you’d be ready to shun or disown her. Fact!

  19. Ignorance & racism goes both ways. Parker should be fired in my opinion.

    Here’s to hoping NFL AM will become a better program so I can stomach watching it.

  20. With the access of any highlight via the internet whats the point? The entire channel is opinions and they never show any highlights anyway. Its great for games but thats about it. I wish it was 90s ESPN…stupid Disney ruined it all.

  21. RGIII had it right all along. Never let someone else define who you are. Maybe the only lesson worth taking away from what is otherwise a truly cowardly performance by both Parker and ESPN.

  22. double standard. when is this going to stop in our country. ESPN WHAT A JOKE!!!!.

    IF YOU WAS WHITE HE WOULD BE GONE FOR EVER!

    I STOP WATCHING ESPN TODAY.

  23. @geniusesq

    Ignorance & racism goes both ways. Parker should be fired in my opinion.

    Here’s to hoping NFL AM will become a better program so I can stomach watching it.

    ——————————–

    The problem with NFL AM is they have guys like Darren Sharper, who has the intelligence and speaking ability of a 2nd grader.

  24. espn sucks. its all jets and tom brady. the network is more worried about ratings then actual news. i hate espn

  25. Do us one solid, OK ESPN; on the day of his return, just don’t allow Parker to sit there and disingenuously lie to America about how remorseful he is about his RG III remarks.
    Much appreciated.

  26. Done with ESPN! Have not liked the show in some time and now I have a real reason to leave…Let someone white say that and they would be fired immediately. They let clown explan his comments and then put him back on the air?

  27. Almost totally stopped watching ESPN years ago, I may tune in at exactly 7:30 for MNF or college football, but that is it. Years ago in college I watched it non-stop.

  28. Next month’s news: Rob Parker on the hot seat again for claiming Tiger Woods, Ice-T, Seal, Lamar Odom, and Tony Parker aren’t black enough. If you don’t get this joke you are uneducated and silly.

  29. More evidence that ESPN is JOKE!

    I’d like to see RGIII, or any athlete who is black, step up and speak against this ridiculous action and demand RP be fired.
    THAT would make way to much sense though.

  30. Unbelievable.. Very true if it were a white person saying what he said, he’s done. But I think they didn’t fire him, not because what he said is tolerable because he’s black, but because ESPN KNEW what his position was and how he was going to present it. ESPN is at fault for agreeing to the racist comments in exchange for ratings. Disgraceful…

  31. What a joke. That was the most racist thing I have ever heard. If he was white he would have been fired the next day

  32. So let me get this straight.. Rush Limbaugh got fired, but Parker got suspended? I hate to defend a slimeball like Limbaugh, but that seems to be a bit of a double standard to me.

  33. I said previously that I would not watch ESPN or its alleged products until Parker is FIRED. I stand by what I said.

    Goodbye, ESPN. Alas and alack, the days when you were relevant and respected are long gone. You are nothing but merchandising, packaging, and now pandering.

  34. Please don’t fall prey to this worn out ESPN tactic. They’e generating all this hype just to get you to tune in. Screw this guy and ESPN.

  35. His comments are worse then what Rush Limbaugh’s were, and by the way i didnt realize african americans weren’t allowed to be republicans, i guess he never heard of Condeleza Rice, Colin Powell, & since he’s from the sports world JC Watts who was a US Congressmen – also played QB at Univ Ok.

  36. Can’t stand the show. But maybe the other so called talent should protest Parker’s return. Can’t believe no other talent at that station isn’t speaking out. Where’s Wilbon? Stuart Scott? Boomer?

  37. This is a joke. I agree that if Parker were any other race ( not just white) he would’ve been canned the day after and would be blackballed by most media outlets. I will not be watching ESPN anymore.

  38. Noticed Dungy was on PTI and they did NOT ask him about this even though he took a pretty strong position very early on..

    ESPN stinks.

  39. rickastleydancemoves says:
    Dec 20, 2012 2:40 PM
    If Parker were white blah, blah, blah. I find it funny how middle age, white conservatives can listen to and agree with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter with the hateful, racist , divisive things they spew daily, but are SOOO up in arms what with Rob Parker said. Keep in mind if your white princess brought home a black prom date, you’d be ready to shun or disown her. Fact!

    _________

    Uh, you do realize the vast majority of the people on this board are defending RGIII over having a white fiance, right? And that Parker was the one with a problem with it?

  40. Parker is an uneducated and silly racist!
    I’ll watch games, but I have no need for any other ESPN programming!

  41. Of course he meant what he said…the “Truth” truly lies beneath. It’s going to take “Time and distance” to get past this situation. Unfortuanely, we live in a sometimes unforgiving society…his reputation is shot. He’s no Rush Limbaugh.

  42. You guys are totally missing the point on this and you act like you just work up in America. Rob Parker is on a sports/entertainment show. Comedians and the like “can” talk about their race with minimal retribution. If Parker were white and said these things, the story would be 1,000 times bigger and possibly real damage to his career. But he is black, so this story really doesn’t carry much weight. And none of you are actually talking about real issue–someone saying someone isn’t “black” for whatever reason. You’re upset because the white guy can’t say it.

  43. I wish I would get suspended for 30 days with pay. Actually ESPN’s reaction makes perfect sense when viewed alongside the Jeremy Lin incident. It makes sense because ESPN doesn’t actually care about the infraction they just occasionally feel the need to respond to public blowback.

    If there hadn’t been a furor here then Parker wouldn’t have received any discipline as is evidenced by the fact ESPN re-aired the segment twice.

  44. someone should sue espn for his racist remarks. that will force him to quit!!! rob parker should be without a job.

  45. If your black and on ESPN you can say whatever you want and keep your job (Rob Parker, Jemele Hill). All Steve Phillips did was have an affair with a fattie and lost his gig on Baseball Tonight.

  46. People keep saying “if he was white and said this about a black man” that’s not accurate.
    The real question would be if a white man said something about another white man engaged to a black woman, would that be offensive.

    The answer is a resounding YES.

    No doubt you won’t hear any of the Colon Cowherder or Scott “I wish I was still in college” Van Pelt addressing this due to their marching orders from headquarters.

    They always want to “talk tough” and ask the “real” questions unless it has something to do with their network then they’re all like “what comments? I don’t know what you’re talking about. That doesn’t exist to me. Let’s talk about how great the cowboys and LeBron are.”

  47. patsfanforlife says:
    Dec 20, 2012 2:30 PM
    Racism exists in both directions. We just are required to be tolerant of it in one direction.

    —————————————–

    Very true. Well said.

  48. Don’t agree with what he said. Do believe he has the freedom to say whatever he wants, hope this doesn’t lead to more censorship because some feelings got hurt.

  49. Ummmm, Mr NFL Commissioner, doesn’t this affect the integrity of “your” game? How about saying something…

    …or maybe you’re too busy to notice?

  50. This is my first post. ESPN has become a complete joke over the years. If I need my fill of NY Yankees or SOX NATION news I’ll turn it on. This is way beyond the pale though. It makes you question the networks integrity.

  51. Love to see ESPN convene a panel comprised on ppl who have made stupid remarks in sports….this joker…al campanis…limbaugh…remember tom brookshier? Who else is there? i know the list is long…

    Shoot, if Marv Albert can bite and cone back and do play by play, I guess, I guess anything’s possible?

    How about some of the ESPN on air folks publicly protesting this, please…

  52. Unfortunately, the only way to get the message across to ESPN is to go directly to the sponsors.

    ESPN is probably not at all upset by the publicity… it will lead to a short term spike in ratings more than likely.

  53. Regardless of Network, I will never watch any show that employs Mr. Parker.

    However; ESPN’s MNF is this Saturday; Atlanta/Detroit. I wonder how many of us will be watching. I confess, I will be one.

  54. What I would like to see is RG3 come on the program to discuss this matter intellectually with Rob. Then when RG3 gives him an intellectual verbal beat down and Rob proves to be too dumb to respond RG3 can say “Yeah Rob…. because I want to be a racist dumb brotha like you”.

  55. Really? You guys are going to quit watching ESPN because one black said another black guy wasn’t black and no one was fired.
    Are you going to quit watching college football because 110+ DIV I college football programs have decided a black guy cannot possibly be their head football coach? Be nice if people could focus on real racist issues for a change.

  56. I won’t wait 30 days to cancel my ESPN!
    What an incredibly poor example this media machine has set. It’s not ok to say the things he said and just get a slap on the wrist. Big time DOUBLE STANDARD!

  57. prince5000 says:
    Dec 20, 2012 2:18 PM
    so when is Rush coming back? ESPN is a total joke not firing this clown.

    ====================

    ESPN is a joke, regardless.

    And uh, firing someone for saying someone isnt black enough isnt the same as someone white saying they are just hyping up a black quarterback.

    One issue is referring to cultural equivalency, and the other implied racial inferiority from a group whose ancestors owned slaves and had lynchings with whites smiling.

    Not even the same ballpark, and before you say get over slavery – it never should’ve happened in the first place. Once we acknowledge its irreparable damage to the psyche of a people, we will move on. Since the slave trade never in a lifetime occurred to whites, i dont think its ever really going to be forgotten anytime soon.

    And a appropriate perfect Xmas movie for this day and age – Django Unchained debuts on Xmas.

  58. oldirtyman says:
    Dec 20, 2012 3:47 PM
    Don’t agree with what he said. Do believe he has the freedom to say whatever he wants, hope this doesn’t lead to more censorship because some feelings got hurt.
    ___________________________
    He has the freedom to say what he wants. And his employer has the freedom to fire him for it.
    Wonder why fewer people defended Hank Williams this way?

  59. Someone should post this Marcia Keegans higher ups contact info and everyone complaining on here need to voice their opinion to them. That is the only want this no talent bigot gets fired. Oh and Rob Parker you aint a real brotha either..your whiter than me

  60. Why not have ESPN rehire Rush Limbaugh and make a new show featuring both Parker and Limbaugh? That way, those guys can simultaneously offer thoughtless race-baiting material to racist whites and racist blacks at the same time. That way, ESPN can just come out and admit that they’re completely shameless, desperate and willing to do anything to get ratings.

  61. I know nobody is going to read this comment but I’ll write it anyways… This article by Michael David Smith is one of the best I’ve ever read on this site. Espn has officially jumped the shark. They have lost me. I used to love espn more than any other channel. Couldn’t wait for 11am on Sunday so I could watch NFL Countdown.
    Now, I literally can’t watch it. Don’t watch it. Great article..

  62. e2al says:Dec 20, 2012 5:02 PM

    Be nice if people could focus on real racist issues for a change.

    Do you have any examples of “real” racism? I mean calling somebody out on national television by saying they are not true to their race is top of the heap. Especially for saying he has a WHITE fiance. If this is not racist (probably because a black man said it) then what is? Are you trying to pull the ol double standard? Please…….

  63. First person I ever heard of fired for racist remark(which I didn’t think it was) was Howard Cossell. At that time he was a very important part of Monday Night Football and said. if I remember correctly, “Look at that little monkey run”. I can’t remember the player other than he was small and fast.
    My mom used to say ‘you little pumpkin’. Jeez, I wonder what she meant? Could it be she was racist?
    I’m done with ESPN

  64. I have written ESPN numerous times about there shows and content plus commendators. They are blind and this proves it. Allowing Mr Smith to use the N word with no punishment was bad enouh but allowing Parker back. No backbone and I’m done with ESPN. Not that they care.

  65. It’s “journalists” like Parker that turned me off of ESPN months ago & frankly I haven’t missed it @ all. I only watch actual sporting events on The Mothership’s various networks now.

  66. Can’t believe no other talent at that station isn’t speaking out

    Sports writers / tv personalities are almost entirely liberals.

    They look after their own.

  67. tatum064, Every race On The Planet has experienced slavery before.

    And if that half-wit “actor/comedian” who talked about “killing all the white people,” were actually white, talking about “killing all the black people,” I would doubt you would be ready to yuck it up at any theaters this Christmas.

    If you want racism to be Wrong, lead by example.

  68. I wonder how many seconds it would have taken for me to be fired from my job if I had said that someone (a white guy) was “acting ghetto because his wife was black. He’s obviously not down with the cause.”

  69. Talk about double standards at ESPN. Rush Limbaugh makes a comment about a black quarterback and he is fired. His comments wasn’t even nearly as racial as Parkers.

    I think I am done with ESPN.

  70. ESPN is likely just loving the exposure. Would anyone really be surprised if you were to find out he was actually given praise for the controversy behind the scenes.

  71. I was an ESPN Insider for over 5 years. The day Rob Parker made these comments and was not fired ON THE SPOT, I cancelled my subscription. I will not watch ESPN, subscribe to their Insider feed, or otherwise support their racist bigots. As an Air Force Captain with 21 years active, Mr. Parker’s comments perpetuate exactly the type of bigotry that would not be tolerated in a military unit. The more racists like Parker are given a platform to spew their filth, the further from becoming a united country America will remain.

  72. ESPN, I vomit in your general direction.

    The lack of a respectable standard by ESPN is embarrassing, and damages the credibility of all others who work there, who are not racists.

    How was Parker not fired? Absurd.

    Who specifically made the decision to merely suspend Parker? THAT is now the story.

  73. I’ve completely stopped watching ESPN unless it’s for an actual sporting event. They’ve diminished the quality of their brand in the pursuit of cheap ratings so much that it’s beneath me to bother with it. When it takes public outrage to inform a company that race-baiting is not acceptable, that company no longer has credibility. Not worse but just as bad, this 30-day suspension is a complete joke. Who wouldn’t like a 30-day vacation? So, this isn’t far from being a reward for bad behavior. Rob Parker and the producer/editor/whoever deserve to be fired for their ignorance.

    The only person who comes out on top here is RG3 for not only turning a blind eye to issues of race, but for being above the comments made to attack him. I know if it were me, I would be cordially inviting Rob Parker to the parking lot.

  74. tatum064 says: Dec 20, 2012 5:17 PM

    prince5000 says:
    Dec 20, 2012 2:18 PM
    so when is Rush coming back? ESPN is a total joke not firing this clown.

    ====================

    ESPN is a joke, regardless.

    And uh, firing someone for saying someone isnt black enough isnt the same as someone white saying they are just hyping up a black quarterback.

    One issue is referring to cultural equivalency, and the other implied racial inferiority from a group whose ancestors owned slaves and had lynchings with whites smiling.

    Not even the same ballpark, and before you say get over slavery – it never should’ve happened in the first place. Once we acknowledge its irreparable damage to the psyche of a people, we will move on. Since the slave trade never in a lifetime occurred to whites, i dont think its ever really going to be forgotten anytime soon.

    And a appropriate perfect Xmas movie for this day and age – Django Unchained debuts on Xmas.
    ——————————-
    You’re an idiot

  75. @tatum064
    Not even the same ballpark, and before you say get over slavery – it never should’ve happened in the first place. Once we acknowledge its irreparable damage to the psyche of a people, we will move on. Since the slave trade never in a lifetime occurred to whites, i dont think its ever really going to be forgotten anytime soon.

    And a appropriate perfect Xmas movie for this day and age – Django Unchained debuts on Xmas.

    =================================

    Rob Parker, is that you? Or are there others out there working to keep outdated attitudes and beliefs alive? The time for blatant ignorance and feigned indignation is long past. Guess what tatumo? Human trafficking is still going on in very large numbers all over the world! You do a great injustice to all those who sacrificed to end large scale human trafficking in the US. Step away from Django and go see Lincoln, or maybe read a book on John Brown. The country has moved on from the views you and Rob Parker are trying to cling to. You both should come join the rest of us.

  76. I completely agree that this is outrageous. But if we want to get ESPN’s attention, send them feedback directly telling them what you think. I did when this story originally aired. I don’t know that my one comment made a difference, but our time is better spent telling ESPN what we think about this rather than posting here. Here’s the link: https://r.espn.go.com/members/contact/index

  77. My family was in Ireland and Russia being slaughtered at the hands of their own people, thanks. Not all white people descend from slave owners. My family came over in 1915. WAY after slaves. Do some history homework.

  78. I agree that we should express our concerns directly to ESPN as I just did prior to this comment. It is a little disheartening to think that my beloved ESPN dropped the ball on this. I just hope that my complaint doesn’t get lost in the shuffle for there really wasn’t a submission option for racism & bigotry! ESPN the total sports network that covers up the drag marks by melting the snow!

  79. Rob used to ask women on the air in Detroit what color panties they were wearing. Rob Parker is a disgrace to Detroit.

  80. I guess what Rush and Hank Williams said is unforgiveable but not calling a black man out for being with a white woman. Disgraceful!
    Also, I am sure a 30 day suspension right in the middle of the holiday season had Rob Parker shaking in his boots.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!