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Parker suspended from ESPN Minstrel Show

Parker suspended from ESPN Minstrel Show

By Mike Claiborne

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American

     I am sure at some point you have heard the term “you cannot teach stupid.” If you haven’t then please allow me to introduce you to Rob Parker.

    He is the new face for the term. Parker is an alleged “sports journalist” who got himself in a spot of trouble last week with some rather off the mark, should I say way off the mark comments about Washington Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III. Parker really stepped in it this time by questioning the “Blackness” of Griffin.

    “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 else,” Parker said of Griffin III on the ESPN train wreck called First Take.

    A daily show that has morphed into a sports talk version of an episode of Atlanta Housewives or perhaps the Jerry Springer Show. There is more though.

    Parker went on to apply his own litmus test for Griffin in stating what he is looking for in a man of color. “Well because that’s just how I want to find out about him. I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about how he’s a Republican, which, I don’t really care, 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’.” Parker sealed the deal on stupidity with his comparison of brothers …   But my question, which is just a straight honest question: Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

    Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother? Yeah.

    Parker then proceeded to state Griffin wasn’t “down with the cause.”

    Yep, this all took place on one show. Then it all came to an end when ESPN suspended Parker indefinitely.

    With the track record Parker has in being out of line, what made ESPN think he was the right guy in the first place?

    You may remember Parker’s antics in Detroit when he was a columnist for the Free Press. Parker posed a question to Rod Marinelli, then head coach of the Detroit Lions about his defensive coordinator. The Lions were winless for the season, and the defense, like the offense, was struggling mightily.

            Marinelli’s son-in-law, Joe Barry, was the defensive coordinator at the time. Parker asked Marinelli did he wish his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator. An attempt at humor that failed miserably is what Parker said in his apology. He was later fired.    Who put this idiot up to saying what he said about Griffin III? I personally do not think Parker could have pulled this off by himself. Parker could have pulled this off by himself.

This First Take show is all about getting an eyebrow to raise by saying something that is somewhere between outspoken to out of control. There are plenty of people who are behind the camera who incite this sort of antic in order to create controversy. So why was Parker the only one under this well deserved bus?

    If we are in the sports business, why has it become an issue as to who someone sleeps with or votes for? Instead, should we have a greater concern if Griffin III and others like him can read a defense or pick up a blitz? The cause, you asked? I wonder how many charitable things Parker has ever done in his life to help the cause?

    While Parker was out of work before ESPN hired him to do their dirty work, it’s sad that he would have to stoop to such levels to be heard. Even the bombastic Stephen A. Smith wanted nothing to do with the issue when the question was posed to him.

    For Parker, my hope is his suspension will lead to termination. He has lost all privileges to call himself a journalist, let alone an African-American journalist. He should know better. He should also know it is quite hard for people of color to get a position like his, and this is the best he has to offer his colleagues?

    Oh, I did not forget about ESPN. They have gone out of their way to exploit, cajole and embarrass African Americans. Few have survived there without having to do their own personal minstrel show in order to keep a job. Aside from Michael Wilbon, Herman Edwards, John Saunders and a handful of others, most have done what the man says and like to stay on the air with regularity.

    As for the analysts, many of them former athletes, they have been able to expound on their respective sports and that’s it. ESPN is the kingmaker, for sure. It is too bad that they do not look beyond the likes of Rob Parker to have a more credible throne.


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