ESPN fires Rob Parker

Rob Parker, the commentator who created controversy when he questioned whether Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is a “cornball brother” because he has a white fiancee, has been fired by ESPN.

“Rob Parker’s contract expired at year end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew,” an ESPN spokesman said in a written statement.

ESPN can spin this as simply a decision not to renew his contract, rather than a firing, but the reality is that ESPN specifically stated on December 20 that Parker had been suspended for 30 days, and as of December 20, ESPN was expecting Parker back at the end of his 30-day suspension. (He made the comments on December 13, so a 30-day suspension from that date would have ended on January 12.)

So why did Parker’s discipline change from a 30-day suspension to termination? ESPN isn’t saying, but it may be that the network was unhappy with a recent interview Parker gave in which he said that ESPN knew what he was going to say on the air before he said it. In that interview, Parker also seemed to backtrack on his previous apology, complaining that people took his “cornball brother” statement out of context.

Parker has long been known for drawing attention to himself by stirring up controversy, and it’s unsurprising that he eventually took it too far and got himself fired. But ESPN is hardly blameless in all this: Parker made his comments on ESPN First Take, a show that celebrates provocation, and at first ESPN’s producers were so pleased with Parker’s comments about Griffin that the network re-aired the comments on Best of First Take. It was only later, after ESPN was criticized for airing the comments, that the network apologized.

And now, much later, ESPN has finally done what many viewers said it should have done from the beginning, and fired Parker.

191 responses to “ESPN fires Rob Parker

  1. He was fired because he kept trying to justify it. Just a couple days ago, he was saying that what he said was fine, just taken out of context.

    Had he kept his mouth shut, he’d still be part of the network.

  2. They should fire Skip Bayless, Stephen A Smith and then burn down the First Take set too.

  3. cannot believe it took them that long to do it .. that just means that they didn’t want to. only cause he mouthed off some more after his ‘apology’ was espn forced not to bring him back.

  4. Good firing. Now just get rid of Skip Bayless, Stephen A Smith, the entire embrace debate crap, replace it with some quality programming like Around the Horn and PTI and ESPN will have purged themselves of all the evil that has engulfed their programming. Wow i must be dreaming to think any of thats going to happen…

  5. Lomas is next, Stuart Scott , skip Bayless , and Stephen A to follow. Haven’t watched any espn since Parker stepped on his junk on air. Can some more of the idiots and then maybe I ll ….no I won’t.

  6. Does this mean that they are done milking this story for publicity or do you think that Parker makes one last ditch effort to block his termination via litigation?

  7. Yeah, a little too late there ESPN. You obviously thought long and hard about whether to do it or not, should have been an instant decision.

    That’s why you still suck (among other reasons).

  8. Good, now fire the idiots that produced and re-aired that garbage. ESPN should return to being a sports channel instead of catering to the reality tv and gossip crowd.

  9. Very NICE!!!! were to now? ESPN is the bottom of the barrel !!!! couldnt have happened to a better guy….

  10. Maybe like Kieth Olberman he’ll move from sports to news reporting, where he can espouse his viewpoint without criticism

  11. I’d like to hear more details on the possibility that ESPN shows are scripted and possibly collaborations and not original and sincere opinions of the people providing them. Interesting.

  12. As many others say, it is about time…it shouldn’t of taken this long… Good luck to Rob Parker finding another job in a similar field ! It has to be tough after showing such an incredible lack of judgement !

  13. “Parker has long been known for drawing attention to himself by stirring up controversy”

    I guess he won’t need Mike Florio as a mentor anymore.

  14. Like Clint Eastwood says “a man has got to know his limitations” as well as when to shut up. . and stop trying to defend the indefensible. What a moron!

  15. Good. Now do a total house cleaning and get rid of: Stephen A, Skip Bayless, Berhman, and Stuart Scott. That would be a good start.

  16. Used to be a big fan of First Take but since it went to the current format of hollering and screaming I haven’t watched a minute. Put Skip and Steven A in a locked room and let’s all pray neither comes out.

  17. They suspended him for 30 days because that’s how much time he had left on his contract. After that they could simply say they chose not to renew. If they had fired him outright he would have had a court case for wrongful termination because they evidently approved the gist of what he said beforehand.

    At least he’s gone though… thank God.

    I wonder what he’ll do next…

  18. Maybe he can get a job at MSNBC covering sports. I’m sure his views will fit right in.

  19. You know, First Take used to be kind of a fun show, back when it was Jay and Dana doing interviews and silly stunts, with small doses of Skip Bayless arguing with whoever interspersed. But then they reformatted the show, forced out Jay and Dana (and forced Dana out, period), and made it all about Skip yelling inanities at people. Rob Parker is just a symptom of this stupid mentality. He’ll get a job with Fox, or one of the new channels popping up, and keep saying the same stupid stuff. It still won’t matter.

  20. ESPN is equally responsible. They put it on twice that day and even the “best of” first take.


  21. Good, but ESPN’s whole business strategy revolves around people like this. People who purposly make inflamatory comments for shock value. For years I have compared it to E! Sports Edition rather than the sports news show it used to be. All of the created rivalries and all. If not for Monday Night Football I wouldn’t watch the network at all. Good riddance, Rob Parker.

  22. Hopefully he won’t qualify for unemployment and no one will consider hiring him now that’s he is a freelancer.

  23. Another black man thrown under the bus so the real culprit(Skip Bayless) can get away with his race baiting while his flunky(Steven A. Smith) can shine for the audience.. That show is a microcosm of America today.. I will not watch again..

  24. ESPN is just worthless. You would think some of the other stations would get a clue and learn how to compete with them. NFL network is good but it’s NFL only and if you want to see a little of everything else you have to go elsewhere. How about NBC Sports stops airing bass fishing and finally competes with ESPN?

  25. Good riddance to bad rubbish. He is a disgrace. His opinions about the Patriots were so offensive to me. He always kept bringing up that because the Pats haven’t won a Superbowl since Spygate that that invalidates Belichick’s greatness. Yeah, I think 2 Superbowls and 4 playoff appearances tends to invalidate that opinion. Go suck on it Parker!!

  26. Yesssss I benn waitin for this man to be fired rg3 got a beautiful woman a college degree dozens of records a heisman and was a first round pick…being a black young man (21) dats the cause im “down” for…rob parker prolly loves our men who think jail is better than college…who thinks sellin drugs is better working hard to provide for a family. And a barbershop??? Any black man knows dat as fast as they talk about rg3 to rob parker they started talkin about rob parker as soon as he left the shop….thanks for being “real” rob im glad u will never be on my favorite network again

  27. I’m certain The Justice Bros. (Jesse & Al) will be chiming in with their racist BS any second ….

  28. Oh they will NEVER fire Skip “Brainless”. I wish they would as well, but they won’t. His stupid arse is what drives that show’s ratings up…

  29. They couldn’t take the heat they were receiving from these comments and he just wasn’t valuable enough for them to stick their neck out any longer for him.

    Meanwhile you’ll hear silence and crickets from the likes of Cowherd, VanPelt, Mike & Mike etc.

  30. ESPN is spineless. I can’t STAND Parker but he’s always been a race baiting punk. ESPN is just pissed he outed them as knowing what he was going to say. Period.

  31. ESPN should fire itself for hiring and keeping some of the clowns bit has “reporting” and talking sports. The network is a joke!

  32. Not extending his contract was the correct move. Now; let some of the others’ found to be culpable in the handling of this serve a suspension and not have their contracts renewed as well.

  33. This is a cop-out. Parker wasn’t fired outright, but rather his contract wasn’t renewed. There is a difference.

    If ESPN had any guts they would have fired Parker the same week he made his comments, and been done with him. Instead, ESPN suspends him and then chooses to run out the clock on his contract; the coward’s way out.

  34. You could form a sports department off of all of ESPN’s fired workers: Parker, Jay Mariotti, Sean Salisbury, Ron Franklin, Harold Reynolds, Steve Phillips, etc.

  35. Good riddance, Mr. Parker. You were privileged to work for an organization many sports fans and writers would dream of and you blew it by backtracking from your apology. If you can’t take this as a humbling experience and continue with the stance that people took your words out of context, perhaps it is time for you to blacklisted (no pun intended) from the world of sports journalism.

  36. Rob was a doofus on the airwaves in Detroit and the story continues…

    Past performance is indicative of future behavior.

  37. @bishopdon:

    I hope you don’t really believe that. Stephen A. was incredibly the voice of reason in this whole debacle. And if you think Parker was thrown under the bus, you fail to realize/acknowledge/accept that racism works both ways.

  38. About time. I know who he is. Have not watched him for so long. Will not lower myself to watch the idiots at ESPN. I got NBC sports. Three hours every day watching Dan Patrick. Who needs ESPN not me.

  39. Sorry, even though I didnt agree with Parker making those comments let’s face it ESPN is making him a scapegoat.

    Its producers are also cowards by having him fired while they get to be in hiding from those questioning the show’s motives.

  40. I tried watching first take yesterday.

    Skip Bayless was blaming Dr. Andrews for RGIII’s knee injury because he put the idea in RGIII’s head that the knee wasn’t in perfect condition and he played differently…..


  41. “This is a cop-out. Parker wasn’t fired outright, but rather his contract wasn’t renewed. There is a difference.”

    Welcome to the corporate world. It’s easier for the employer, and makes them less likely to be sued for:

    a. discrimination
    b. wrongful termination
    c. some other bs

    He may not have been fired, but he was shown the door. Same difference.

  42. Its funny people complain about ESPN but they still watch and comment about how bad they are. In terms of daily sports programming they are it. No Fox Sports, CNNSI tried and failed, no yahoo network, NBCSN? They show Dan Patrick and Pro Football Talk and their nightly sports show but that’s it. Face it folks ESPN isn’t going anywhere and no one will seriously challenge them. Parker got fired because he ran his mouth again when he didn’t have to. All he had to was keep his mouth shut until he returned and he would still have a job but he couldn’t help himself and now has to suffer the consequences. SMH!!!

  43. ESPN reminds me of the movie “Network” where they continually spin off the craziest person into their own show. Let’s face it, they had just promoted this guy to co-anchor of the weekend version of First Take….

  44. rickastleydancemoves says:

    “Because middle-aged white conservatives that listen to and agree with Rush Limbaugh & Ann Coulter daily were sooo offended.”

    No suspension for you. You’re fired immediately

  45. Wow, except for actual live sporting events, does anybody even still watch the other shows on ESPN?

  46. Racist dingbat deserved to go from the get-go.

    Nice that people are starting to get……there is no such thing as “reverse-racism.” Racism is racism

    It’s great when liberals lose to their own game.

  47. They had to make room on the roster for another arrogant, self righteous, on air personality. -Ray Lewis

  48. Dont give him any “pub” by printing his name. Just headline that an ignorant racist nobody became unemployed by makeing remarks offensive to all races colors or creeds.

  49. howiehandles says:
    Jan 8, 2013 4:17 PM
    “This is a cop-out. Parker wasn’t fired outright, but rather his contract wasn’t renewed. There is a difference.”

    Welcome to the corporate world. It’s easier for the employer, and makes them less likely to be sued for:

    a. discrimination
    b. wrongful termination
    c. some other bs

    He may not have been fired, but he was shown the door. Same difference.


    Actually, no, letting one’s contract expire is NOT the same as firing a person under contract. If you’ve ever worked under contract, you know these are drawn up for a specific period of time, and in many cases (in the real world at least) the contract is set to coincide with the end of the work for which the contracter was hired.

    It may not be that way in broadcasting, but if not, that is because of a faulty perception on the part of the contractee.

    That said, ESPN was gutless for not firing Parker outright. They choose the coward’s way out.

  50. ESPN isn’t spinning anything in any direction.

    When someone’s contract comes up, you “fire” them by not renewing it.

    They suspended him with the intention of renewing his contract after 30 days, and then reversed their decision and let him go, most likely due to his going back on his apology.

    What did you want them to do, renew his contract just so they could “actually” fire him?

  51. Its about time. Rob should never have been hired. How does ESPN hire someone who had zero credibility in his home market? As a columnist for the Detroit Free Press he got caught making up a story about Kirk Cousins getting in a fight with teammates (I believe supposedly over race). Too bad for Rob when all this supposedly happened Cousins was IN CHURCH with a couple hundred witnesses. Rob Parker – Zero Class, Zero Credibility, and now Zero Income.

  52. Nice finally to see ESPN sees the racist aren’t always on the white side. To bad they don’t look into the entire show FIRST TAKE.

  53. “…complaining that people took his “cornball brother” statement out of context.”

    Here’s a fun party game: Come up with a context where calling somebody that WON’T get you fired.

    If Parker happened to be a caucasian, he’d have been escorted straight from the studio to the street after saying that.

  54. Not much to add…….over 150 comments and not a single one that supports Parker. The only real question is what was ESPN thinking when they hired this idiot.

  55. I will only watch ESPN again if they put Troy Aikman on First Take so we can have a Jim Everett on Jim Rome style beatdown.

  56. Some other network looking for a cheap ratings bump will probably hire this tool. These “commentators” don’t go away, they just get recycled to other networks.

  57. Now if they would be consistent and fire Ed Werder for his Andy Reid fat joke he made on live TV.

  58. This guy still doesn’t get it. Remember, his comments were taken out of context, after all.

  59. I am not a Skip Bayless apologist, however it seems to me that Skip provokes and inflames passions, however he clearly does his homework and research and I surely would not call him a racist, whereas Parker stepped over THAT line with his remark. If people are saying Bayless can be obnoxious and aggravating, as well as exasperating, then I would say that is a fair observation, but racist, I don’t think so.

  60. I find if funny who was actually offended by his comments because we were not. And just so you know, we have conversations like this alot. What Parker should have done was “keep it in the barbershop”. Then a certain segment of society would not have been “insulted”. As Kanye would say……I’m insulted that your insulted. BTW Before I get called a reverse racist, which sound dumb as heck, I like white people. I married one.

  61. Yeah it is pretty hilarious that it seems white people are the most offended that one “brother” called another “brother” not black enough because of a white girlfriend. Before whites would have been offended that the “brother” dare date one. Crazy changing times.

  62. Bayless and Steven A are “bomb throwers”. They were hired to get a reaction. They more contradictory to public opinion the better. Parker went beyond even ESPN’s limits. Pretty ironic this is posted by a network who’s sister network hires only “bomb throwers” for it’s political shows.

  63. Good. He was a corn ball bratha anyway. Don’t know if I’d hang out with him. Heard he hates white people and he a republican too! You know!? Pfft. Corn ball sucka!

  64. Excellent. It’s about time the black racist PIGS in this country quit getting a free pass to spew their hatred and venom on the public airwaves. It’s about time they are held accountable for their bigoted actions. Let this be a precedent. Hope he never finds another job except for sweeping floors. That’s about all this race baiter is qualified for.

  65. Wowsa my Brotha, that $30 grand a month is going to be missed but guess what? You’re now in the “Cornball Brotha” unemployment line as well you should ya friggin racist.

  66. Hey Rob: Congratulations for embodying the actual essence of racism by insisting someone believe and act in a stereotypical way simply based on the color of their skin. You are an Ass no matter what your skin color. Good luck in your job search, maybe the Black Panthers are hiring voting booth intimidators.

  67. “Race” should never be an issue in sports news or commentary unless it refers to horse racing, vehicle racing, or track!

  68. ESPN has been a subtle but significant contributor to the demise of our culture. Particilarily how they push their edgy “street” crap on impressionable young kids who tune in to watch sport highlights but are exposed to all sorts of overt racial insinuations on the telecasts. Good riddance Robert Parker. Too bad many of your ex co-workers and aren’t following you out the exit door.

  69. I stopped watching ESPN some time ago – when I finally realized it was run by pissed off minorities, and liberal loonies with an agenda. Screw them.

  70. I rarely watch espn. College games sometimes. If they fired that snob of an nfl “expert” who called Tebow a fraud…completely unfounded…I might watch.

  71. I didn’t understand it when ESPN had only suspended Parker. I’m glad they corrected their error.

  72. bojosatchmo says:
    Jan 9, 2013 12:59 PM
    Hey Rob: Congratulations for embodying the actual essence of racism by insisting someone believe and act in a stereotypical way simply based on the color of their skin. You are an Ass no matter what your skin color. Good luck in your job search, maybe the Black Panthers are hiring voting booth intimidators.


    The Black Panthers started school breakfast programs, and developed self defense and real political self-determination amid racism, and police brutality – the current version are frauds, and nowhere near the cultural importance and historic icon of the black experience in America.

    He raised a valid point, but one that shouldnt be aired in an mixed company. Personally, I think he was scapegoated and the producers that re-aired that nonsense needed to get fired, too.

    Dont worry, Stephen A. Smith is still there to light up people with provocative commentary, no matter how sensitive and in denial people are about race matters in this country.

  73. Good Rob Parker was an idiot he should have been fired the day after he made those comments he wasn’t even entertaining to watch. As for Skip Bayless and Steven A Smith I don’t have a problem with them they are entertaining to watch.

  74. IMO Parker doesn’t qualify for unemployment. He had a contract, it expired. End of employment.

    It’s no different from a ballplayer’s contract expiring. Does Michael Bourn qualify for unemployment benefits right now, just because he hasn’t signed anywhere yet? No.

  75. He was being provocative. Parker was also the least racist black commentator on ESPN period.

    You sheep. You’ll never get it. For you, image IS everything.

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