ESPN's Rob Parker Breaks His Silence on RGIII
The columnist responded to the controversy for the first time since calling the Redskins quarterback a "cornball brother" and being suspended by ESPN.
It's been a little under a week, but ESPN's Rob Parker still hasn't been able to personally apologize to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. That was one of the details Parker shared in an extended note via Twitter today, responding to the controversy for the first time since calling the rookie sensation a "cornball brother" and being suspended by ESPN. Last Thursday Parker went there, and accused RGIII of not being a model black athlete because of his political tendencies and his white fiancé. Parker had said:
I want to find about him. 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. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like, 'I've got black skin, but don't call me black.' So people wondered about Tiger Woods...
We probably would have a heard a full apology by Parker on ESPN, but there hasn't been word of his suspension yet — the last time the network checked in, he was suspended until "further notice." Parker released this apology today:
I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert’s thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one. I regrettably introduced some points that I never should have and I completely understand the strong response to them, including ESPN’s reaction. Perhaps most importantly, the attention my words have brought to one of the best and brightest stars in all of sports is an unintended and troubling result. Robert Griffin III is a talented athlete who not only can do great things on the field, but off the field handles himself in a way we are all taught – with dignity, respect and pride. I’ve contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.