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ESPN Fires TV Host Rob Parker After Controversial Remarks About Robert Griffin III

ESPN Fires TV Host Rob Parker After Controversial Remarks About Robert Griffin III

So in case you haven't heard, ESPN found itself at the center of a major controversy, back in mid-December, when one of their regular pundits and sports analysts, Rob Parker, made some negative comments on their daily morning show, First Take, about Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

On the show, Parker attacked a recent statement by Griffin saying, bascially, that he wanted to be known as a good quarterback and not just a good black quarterback – a statement which incensed Parker.

Parker responded on the show, saying about Griffin "…is he a brother or he is a cornball brother?"

He further went on to say: "Well he's black, he kind of 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 the guy you'd want to hang out with because he's off to do something else." (I will admit I don't understand what Parker meant by that last part of his statement)

Well, the backlash was immediate and quick, over Parker's comments, and he was suspended for 30 days by the network. However, yesterday Parker gave an interview to a local Detroit TV station to explain what he meant by his comments. 

He claimed that he had no intention of putting down Griffin and that his remarks were meant as: "…just a conversation that's had in the black community when athletes or famous entertainers or whatever push away from their people. That's really what it's about. You saw it with O.J. Simpson and some other people where they say 'Well I'm not black. I'm O.J.'  So it's more about that, not about RGIII and what's going on. It's more about this thing that we've battled for years and why people have pushed away from their people. It's more about that.

He also claimed that ESPN knew somewhat beforehand what he was going to say on the show: "We had a discussion inside. A pre-production meeting and not every single word, but they knew which way we were going and, I think, it's just not off the cuff, obviously."

However that wasn't enough for ESPN, who, today, fired Parker from the network. A official ESPN spokesman said that Rob Parker's "contract expired at year's end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew his deal."

But allow me a few questions…

From what I understand, Parker was well known for making controversial remarks, and that's the main reason why ESPN signed him in the first place. So why, all of a sudden, get all hot and bothered by what he says now?

Second, admittedly not being a sports fan in any way shape or form, and barely knowing any athletes, what did Griffin say or do to for Parker to go after him like that, aside from the "being the best quarterback" statetment? Is it a fair or a cheap shot?

And just exactly what or who defines what being black is?

Your comments if you please…

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What qualifies a person being black besides their skin color?


I understand what Rob Parker was trying to say. It might not have came out right what he was saying is these black athletes get rich and famous and try and distance themselves as far away from the black community as possible unless it's to exploit the black community to sell some products. This has nothing to do with the way RGIII dress, who he is dating, or how he talks, this has to do with is he one of those black athletes that beleive you shouldn't look too black meaning supporting black causes, example did you see any athlete do a psa about the killings in Chicago, no because they agents tell them it might hurt their bottom line to be seen to be too black. If you listen to to what Rob Parker said, he said he wanted to know, he didn't say that it was his opinion that he came up with, he said he was asking people about him was he a cornball brother, meaning is he a brother who don't want to look too black and distance himself from the black community. Nobody saying he should be Ali or Jim brown but just going to poor black schools in his city talking to black poor kids about education, donating money to these schools in poor neighborhoods that need help and doing a psa about steering kids away from some of these obstacles they face would be good enough, giving kids hope they can do it and somebody cares.


so Sergio is NOT a sportsfan but he is writing about a sports program? Man, this board gotta be filled with effete, demasculated types. On to the subject, Rob Paker got it RIGHT. RG3 is a Stone Sellout. Actually, his becky is fronting for him. Word in the lockerroom is that RG3 enjoys the masculine stylings of dudes. I generally agree with Everything Rob Parker says or have said on FirstTake. when he says, RG3 is NOT down with the cause – he is RIGHT. RG3 is trying desperately to be an ANTI-CAM NEWTON. lol. Joe Louis tried the same thing when he became heavyweight champion. He was the ANTI-JACK JOHNSON. But from the outside looking in, you can CLEARLY SEE who is living THEIR life and who is FAKING their life.

Cam Newton ENJOYED his first season Free of injury. RG3 BROKE HIS KNEECAP on national television for the world to see. And got OUTPLAYED by the Black Rookie quarterback from Seattle that stomped the Redskins out.

Jack Johnson enjoyed his entire life DOING HIM. and bedding white women on a day to day basis in the early part of this century. Can't you see jack johnson's and Cam Newton's smile?

can you really see RG3 and Joe Louis' smiles?

OF COURSE NOT, sellouts sells their SOULS!!!!

willie dynamite

ESPN got it right this time, What Parker said and the context in which he said it was very unnecessary. It would have been more understandable if it were motivated by something RGIII did but it kind of came out of left field. Parker only continued to dig an even deeper hole for himself questioning if RGIII was "down for the cause, and that he wanted to know if he was a real brother." C'mon Man! Parker has been an idiot for a while so it was inevitable that he would "Plaxico" himself. I will miss seeing his atrocious suits though.

Kid chaos

Once again you are doing stories where you do no research.


chicago dan, that there are more buttons on your favorite suit jacket than the amount of fingers you have–hi de hi de ho

Miles Ellison

He should have been fired long before this. He's been an idiot for a long time, much like most of the talking heads on ESPN.


It's simple, what Rob said was foolish. I watch ESPN a lot and the few times I see him his rants are rather silly.


I don't think Rob said anything that hasn't been said in barber shops, living rooms, front porches, etc… I got what he was trying to say and it would be a valid conversation in many black communities but ESPN was probably not the right forum to say it. The ones who wouldn't discuss it would feel shame over the conversation and the ones who would discuss it would hate that it's being publicized – esp. on a non-black network/show (i.e. white gaze). All that equals no support for RP. I don't know enough about the channel to say whether Rob's actions should subject him to termination. From the few times I've watched ESPN, I think it's safe to say that every "analyst" should just stick to discussing sports performance/strategy. Social commentary is not anyone's strong point over there.


His comments were completely inarticulate, that's first. And second, if he were white and had said something similar he would have been fired — and we all know white sportscasters that have said some crazy shit about black athletes, while on air, in recent years. So, clearly, they couldn't, and didn't want to be seen as having a double standard on the issue. Which makes sense.


Sergio or anyone else..if you care to just look for the entire segment on the tube sites…it's about 16 minutes long. I tried to answer your questions at the end of article but unless you see/hear what was said, it won't make sense to you.——————–



Rob Parker is a sad and insecure person. Black people all have different experiences just like persons of another race. You cannot define a person by skin color but by the life they have experienced, the things that they have been exposed, their values, how they were raised, where they have traveled etc. It Rob Parker's life is so narrow that he cannot understand this or appreciate it, he is a fool, a sad archaic narrow-minded fool. I pity the fool.


Parker is Captain of Team Dumbass. I get exactly what he was saying, but that's some shit you say in the company of friends. Not at work and DEFINITELY not on tv.


The part you left out was that he mentioned Griffin was married to a white woman. And how this has affected his membership with the Black community. I think that is grounds for a firing.


also—-RG3 was just injured this weekend..might miss entire next season..he may not be "down for the cause" but he's definitely DOWN. ehehheeheh–since the show aired a few weeks ago… and most people forgot about it..can't help but note the timing of this fire.—-RG3 is one of the new faces of the league..HIGHLY promoted..couple pf national ads…..plays for well known a premier division(NFC east)..on the east coat…it's politics…Parker didn't express and articulate whatever point he was trying to make and he sounded silly

Adam Scott Thompson

Parker's comments about RGIII crossed the line (and I'm a Cowboys fan for life). His other work on ESPN left much to be desired. So… this isn't a "high-tech lynching;" there are much more qualified analysts around who could sit in that seat. Regarding the picture above: Those Scarface-suit jacket lapels are grounds for termination in and of themselves.


I made a joke earlier on the blog about Glover" not being down for the cause" in the thread about new Black character being added to some random show(as the Black boyfriend to white lead star). This was the reference.—–

not too many sports fans on S&A


I find it so strange that if a black man speaks well, is multi racial in his thinking and just so happens to be spectacular on the field, he must also carry the water for every cause and everybody black. RGIII just needs to play. That's it. Not every black sports figure is Muhammad Ali or Jim Brown. I'm sure he's bright enough to take a stand on issues when he feels like it but until then, leave the guy alone.


Without question, first and foremost, black entertainers, sportscasters and TV personalities are held to a "different' standard than their white counterparts. Now, throw in a "cultural" or "racial" issue in the mix… then white people (those in charge) don't know which way to turn. I, personally (although I don't know RBIII) understood exactly what Rob Parker was saying and I can safely assume many blacks do as well. But again, it's highly possible that the ESPN execs conferred with outside sources (organizations, people, politicians) to understand what affect Mr. Parker's statement would have on various entities. As Sergio mentioned, many more "controversial" statements have been made by sportscasters, black and white. Just this weekend Brent Musburger made a bonehead sexual remark that he was called on but not fired. Stephen A Smith ( a very popular black sports analyst) is arguably the most "controversial" and outspoken black man on the air, but there's a distinct difference between Musburger, Stephen A. Smith and Rob Parker. Musburger is white, Smith makes money for the network ( highly respected and very popular) and Mr. Parker is a relative nobody. So he's dispensable. He can be thrown to the wolves for all the "right" reasons and to appease and the "right" people. How dare he (Mr. Parker) upset the Redskin's apple cart and thus, by extension the NFL's money? How dare he (Mr. Parker) mess with Washington's money by questioning Robert Griffin III in the blackest city in the USA? And lord have mercy, O J Simpson and Robert Griffin III in the same sentence will have the NAACP and the KKK all up in arms. So, in my opinion, Mr Parker's comment was fair BUT ain't nothing fair about America or it's media outlets. The bottom line, as we so often see in the politics of the movie business, let no one convince you differently, this incident is all about money… and Mr. Rob Parker ain't calling no shots.

Joseph P

You keep referring to someone named "Griffith." Do you mean Robert Griffin? It was kind of confusing.

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