On Thursday sports commentator Rob Parker went on ESPN to ask if Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was “brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
“Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker asked on the ESPN show “First Take.”
“He’s not real. OK, 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 want to hang out with because he’s off to something els,” Parker went to say. “We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk about how he’s a Republican … Tiger Woods was like, ‘I’ve got black skin, but don’t call me black.’”
Parker delivered his criticism because he believed Griffin III was distancing himself from African Americans at a news conference on Wednesday. Griffin III said he didn’t want to be defined by race.
“You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person you are, your character, your personality,” he said. “I am an African-American in America. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”
Griffins’ father, Robert Griffin II, is coming to his sons defense.
“He [Parker] needs to define what ‘one of us’ is. That guy needs to define that,” RG2 told USA Today. “I wouldn’t say it’s racism. I would just say some people put things out there about people so they can stir things up.
“Robert is in really good shape on who he is, where he needs to get to in order to seek the goals he has in life … so I don’t take offense.”
ESPN released a statement saying Parker’s comments were “inappropriate.” ESPN has suspended Parker “until further notice,” according to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.