ESPN commentator Rob Parker was suspended by the network on Friday following offensive and insensitive comments he made about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on ESPN 2's First Take program.
If there is any justice out there, Parker's suspension won't be the last step taken by the network against the controversial columnist.
In case you missed it, Parker found it prudent to call into question just how black Griffin really is because of the way he he lives his life, who he is engaged to, how he speaks and how he carries himself with the media:
My question is, and it’s just a straight, honest question: Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother. He’s not really. He’s black, he does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us. He’s kind of black, but he’s not really like the kind of guy you really want to hang out with.
I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancee. Then there was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.
Parker also talked on the show about how Griffin braids his hair, saying that "you’re a brother if you’ve got braids."
I am not an African-American. I don't pretend to know or understand the world from the perspective of an African-American. But for Parker to think it appropriate or necessary to talk about "how black" a quarterback in the NFL is because he is engaged to a white woman, or might be a Republican, speaks to just how ignorant and out of touch he is.
Instead of vilifying Griffin for the way he acts, Parker should be quick to praise him. Here is one of the best young talents in the NFL, helping to usher in a new, exciting era of football for the Washington Redskins. But all he wants to talk about is whether or not he is "a brother."
These kinds of comments show that Parker would rather titillate than inform and educate. He wants to be part of the headline instead of letting the actual news tell the story. For his shameful ignorance, Parker deserves to be fired from ESPN.
If Parker is allowed back, what rationale could the network possibly come up with that wouldn't warrant some kind of public relations backlash? Would a simple apology from Parker suffice?
Griffin has done nothing to warrant this kind of criticism from anyone. He has presented himself as nothing but a model citizen. He represents the NFL in a way that most analysts would love to talk about in a positive way.
But Parker felt the need to take things about 100 steps too far. He threw hateful comments in the direction of a person who is, by all accounts, a great human being. Who cares if he is white, black or any other race?
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