Rob Parker Robert Griffin III comments on First Take spark controversy
Rob Parker, the ESPN commentator who caused controversy Thursday morning for declaring that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III "wasn't black" has been suspended, the network announced Friday.
In a tweet from ESPN PR representative Josh Krulewitz, the network said that Parker had been suspended indefinitely.
Parker caused controversy Thursday when he called Redskins star Robert Griffin III "kind of black," and said that Griffin "wasn't one of us."
The comments were made by columnist Rob Parker, who makes regular appearances on the morning show "First Take."
Griffin said in an interview published this week by USA Today that he didn't want to be defined by the color of his skin.
In discussing the issue of Griffin and race on ESPN2, Parker began by asking of Griffin: "Is he a brother or a cornball brother?"
When asked by others discussing the issue to explain, he went on to say: "Okay he's black, he kind of does the 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 guy you really want to hang out with..."
Parker later said: "We all know he has a white fiancée, then there was all this talk about he's a Republican, which, there's no information at all..."
COURTESY ESPN’s First Take/Youtube
Councilmember, former mayor, and Redskins fan Marion Barry says Parker's comments are appalling.
"I thought that we in the black community had gotten past that who's black enough, who's not black," Barry told ABC7. "I thought that era was over with."
"He's an outstanding athlete,” Barry added later. “And it's appalling that you have other black people talking like that."
Redskins fans ABC7 talked to agreed the comments were completely out of line.
"Totally ridiculous," said Michael Hafer of Springfield.
"I can't even listen to this any more," said Aaron Talley of the district while watching video of Parker. “Is he a brother or is he not a brother?! Of course he’s a brother!”
On Twitter Wednesday, Parker fired back at critics of his comments, and also received some support.
Meanwhile David Scott with ESPN public relations sent ABC7 a tweet that said: "The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps."
Parker's comments come about a day after Griffin told USA Today's Jim Corbett that he doesn't want to be defined by the color of his skin.
"I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don't have to be defined by that," Griffin told USA Today. "You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality."
"I'm uncomfortable with where we just went," Stephen A. Smith, the often outspoken co-host of First Take, said after a long hesitation after Parker's comments. "It's irrelevant, he can live his life any way he chooses. I don't judge someone's blackness based on those types of things."