ESPN suspends Rob Parker indefinitely for RG3 comments

In the wake of Rob Parker’s ridiculous rant regarding Robert Griffin III (say that fives times fast), ESPN is in full damage control. After issuing a statement, calling Parker’s comments “inappropriate,” the worldwide leader sacked the First Take commentator.

Per SI’s Richard Deitsch, ESPN has suspended Parker “until further notice” and is reviewing the situation.

While his ignorance is thankfully keeping him off the airwaves, it’s not preventing Parker, a Detroit columnist, from fulfilling other obligations. He’s scheduled to cover the Cardinals-Lions game on Sunday.

Following his segment, in which he called Griffin a “cornball brother” and questioned his “blackness,” Parker has been inconspicuously absent from Twitter. The assumption is that the higher-ups at ESPN ordered him to lay low while they wipe the egg from their collective faces. His last tweet was in response to a critic, whom he deemed “typical and uneducated.”

Many players have reacted to the Parker hullabaloo, but I feel it’s best to end with a pair of zingers provided by Texans running back Arian Foster on Friday.

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Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (
  • Chuck Schick

    Hope he’s on the sidelines at the Detroit game. Would love to see Suh take a shot at him.

  • Marion

    This guy is stuck in a self imposed slavery mentality. If a black person does an activity where the qualities are percieved to be white, then they are less than black. Imagine a black person playing golf; he is trying to be white; has a white partner; he is trying to be white, is a republican; he is trying to be white, has plastic surgery; he is trying to be white. and back then, going to college; he is trying to be white, making money and owning a business, he is trying to be white. This mentality is not from white people, it is black people disenfranchising his fellow brother because they dare to be different and see themselves as human beings first. Or Americans first. Mr. Allen perpetuates racism against his own. He is worse than white racists.

    • MyTake

      dead on…couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • james

      wow i didnt even say what he said and i feel the need to go stick my head in a hole good comment marion bravo

  • Mike O

    Good now fire parker the racist………..

  • I believe that RG III is the Tim Tevo of the black persuation, he honestly believes in the good ‘old American values to achieve success, “hard work”, and he’s in a good position to prove it, seeing how he is handsome, popular and a gifter athelete. We should understand that Rob Parker in not a bad person but an ignorant person who despite his marginal success on television can’t really get with the times, he probably still has the old negro mentality deep down, which is represented by the old south or black gangster image, and that clearly showed during his commentary. Perhaps, this incident will help Rob move into the 21st century’s social views and behave accordingly.

  • MEL

    why didn’t espn fire stephen smith for saying “ni gger please”? then he has the balls to go back on the air and say he didn’t utter those words, when it was plain as day he said them.

    • james

      why are you bringing that up get over it

      • Leo

        Can’t get over it, double standards are BS

  • gman4116

    Mr. Parker needs to stop hanging out with the bros, or learn that juding someone by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, was not meant for white pople only.

  • DJ

    This guy must be the BROTHER of witlock

  • I have been a professor at five universities. I have been in the Departments of African American Studies for many years. Many times, my students have taken on such comments as those made by Robert Griffin III. Every single class has agreed with Rob Parker’s “observations.” The great scholar, W.E.B. DuBois wrote about it in his great work: The Souls of Black Folk (see “Of the Coming of John) — written in 1903!! Did anyone see the “special” on race last week, by Soledad O’Brien? I am so saddened by what ESPN did to Rob Parker. He only articulated that which most Blacks have felt for many years. Far too many Blacks have sought to “distance” themselves from their culture. Shame on you, ESPN. Learn some African American history.

    • Marion

      So Mr. Shipley is a professor? It is this kind of thinking that we need to be thank for keeping the black movement locked in the plantation. Here is some news, when a black man moves away from the plantation, he is always going to be a black man free to be whatever he wants to be. Because he aspires to be better than the common black thug that is a parasite on the black community does not equate to abandoning his blackness. What are you teaching those students? According to you and your students, he needs to stay black. What does that mean? Because according to you, he cannot do or experience anything that is experienced by whites. To experience the pleasures in life does not mean you are trying to be white. Why are you teaching your students that to aspire to be as successful is trying to be white? I am tired of seeing successful black men being punished for being successful. I regret that many successful black men who pair up with white women based on race are also guilty of perpetuating prejudice and a form of self-hate. Professional athletes come to mind. But I also recognized that this may not always be the case. People do fall in love. I have lots to say about black women who by others and themselves are victim of this social phenomenon. But another time on that kettle of fish. One last thing, can a black man get your permission to like Beethoven and Mozart, or is he according to you relegated to listening to Jay-Z and Kanye and nothing else. Message to MLK wherever you are, we have not progressed. And from the crazy things happening today, we are regressing as a human race. I won’t get through to you Mr. Shipley, you are too far gone and you lack discernment, the very thing that you should be instilling in your students.

    • Tim Prescott

      See this is the problem right here! No one is distancing themselves just cause you date out your race or is selling out. Blacks need to let go this whole pro-black mentality Dam-it! It’s okay to have white friends, neighbors, colleagues, a boss, but when it comes to dating now we’re crossing the line and ruining our culture. I don’t know small and closed minded world y’all live in. Open eyes already love is love not a Bulls–t excuse. I’ve dated every race of women and they all have the same issues. Live life in color not black and white.

  • Rosa Coats

    I agree with Parker and Professor Shipley. RGIII lusted for white women. What man can deny that their physical desires are driven by what they SEE (strip joints, magazines, porno films)? RGIII doesn’t want to be judged by the color of his skin, but he picked a mate based on the color of her skin. Surely, it wasn’t her mind he looked upon. He said that Becky was his girlfriend for a long time. That just proves my point. Why did he look at her at all? What Parker said was Black truth. ESPN, you will never understand the Black perspective on matters of race. Stop trying to be our master. You need to revisit your decision to suspend Parker.

    • Jeff

      Dang Rosa Coats!!! I’m a white guy but still see the beauty in all colors.And when you mix them up look at the results………..Damn good looking people

  • redskins127

    Wow this guy is supposed to be a professor and does not know what he is talking about. Glad i was never in your class cause I would be ashamed, Rob Parker did not make an observation he made an statement and just because RGIII does not act like a thug or does not behave, associate or speak the way he thinks a black person should act does not mean he is not black enough. And there is Rosa Coats with RGIII lusted for white woman, we do live in a society that we can choose and love whoever and whomever no matter the color of the skin. And does not mean he is less black because of it. Maybe you and the professor can go back and learn that you do not judge a person by the color or the way they represent themselves, that is called ignorance. It is comments like that and the one Rob Parker made that keep this country from moving forward.

  • Grey Maverick

    I am African American; proud of it, as every other race should be of their origin. I mean our race is a large part of our composite and who we are, so there really is no sense in denying or actually articulating it. In most cases, but not all, it’s quite obvious to the eye. However, I do not want to be identified, quantified, pigeon holed or marginalized as only primarily black. I also want to be seen as a valued human being and member of society as well. I watch First Take almost religiously, because I am a sports fan. And honestly while I do not necessarily watch it for it’s intellectual stimulation. I at times find myself cringing, not necessarily from the forum’s foray into race issues per se, but more so from the tone that is sometimes utilized in these discussions. I personally believe more sensitivity and thoughtfulness is needed if you are going to discuss race. But again, that is my personal opinion, which is neither here nor there. I actually saw the footage and honestly, that was one of the moments where I actually cringed. However, I do believe Mr. Parker was actually quoting conversations he had heard in barber shops or been a part of in his home town. So that being the case, he was probably being truthful and honest about the comments he heard, but I just could not believe he chose to convey them, in those very same words and in those very same contexts on that particular show. When discussing racial overtones and issues in a public forum, one has to be able to articulate effectively, but also and more importantly responsibly. Now as an african american, I could easily dissect what RGIII had said and come away feeling slighted or with the perception that he was trying to distance himself from the African American community. But that would be a knee jerk reaction. I do not know RGIII personally and without further commentary from him on this issue, it would be impossible to fully comprehend what his words actually meant beyond what he said. Maybe if he had preface his comments by saying, “while I am african american, I do not want to be defined by the color of my skin or marginalized as “a black quarterback” primarily. I suspect the effect and perceptions would be different for the people that felt and still slighted by his words. The matter of his girlfriend’s/fiance’s skin color and who he votes for is totally off limits, irrelevant and ridiculous as far as I am concerned. I honestly believe that both men could have articulated their comments differently and with more prudence, but race for many is clearly still a treacherous terrain to articulate comfortably, effectively and responsibly. If ESPN decides not to take Mr. Parker back, I would not be surprised. In the world of media; public perception rules whether one has a career or not. And while I honestly do not believe Mr. Parker’s intentions were malicious or racist. His words were definitely irresponsible for that particular forum!!! But then, again, if I was in a job where every sound bite was being recorded, well sooner or later, even the most intellectual and articulate of minds would eventually fall prey to the minefield of their oratory skills or their lack thereof.


    Types like Mr. Parker is the reason why the Democratic Party exists. The plantation gets bigger and bigger with more room to roam around and only see your own kind that all think the same way because their is no other thoughts allowed in this controlled environment. Birds of a feather flock together because they are in their own comfort zone. If you get off the plantation when the gate is open you will find there is a bigger world out there than what you have known all your life because of your limited exposure inside the plantation mind set of forever a victim. Drop your fears and explore the world and not just your own back yard. “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding”. “Give instructions to a wise man, and he will yet be wiser”.

  • Jack Frye

    I’m a white guy who has rarely dated white women, early on I found black and hispanic girls more attractive, they provoked more desire in me. The most beautiful girl I ever dated (actually, have ever seen) had skin blacker and shinier than the black plastic around my flatscreen TV. I married a coffee-brown Mexican beauty who gave me handsome sons and 30 years of happiness. Does that mean I turned my back on my whiteness, betrayed my white brothers and sisters? If RGIII chose his girlfriend because she was white AND pretty, it was simply because that is what turned HIM on, and every man has a right to pursue his desires. Plenty of black men date and marry black women – is Parker saying that they see their choice of mate as an obligation to their black community? That would be a logical extension of his accusations. So how is THAT supposed to make a black woman feel about her black man? That he chose her, not because he found her attractive and desirable, but to develop his blackness? Parker is the one with the problem, he needs to expound his racist ideas in his own blog and not dirty up my ESPN football-following experience.

    • steve

      good comment

  • Yasir Omari Kwannee

    Racist or Racism equals power plus predujuice, predujuice from its etomological or root meaning is to pre judge. Nothing Rob Parker has said will impact the lives of any white person anywhere on the planet earth, all 196,940,000 total square miles. Rising up out of that 57,255,000 being land, 139,685 being water — turning at a terrific speed of 1.037.3 miles per hour.The White power structure, example, the white power brokers who established the suspension of Parker.

    To end racism, you must end the white power structure, i.e, the white bosses who have suspended Rob Parker for voicing or analyzing a perception born out of his personnal experiences as both a blackman and analyst. So, lets’ examine the idea of being judge on the contents of one’s character.

    That’s a well worn idealogy based upon mythology in the American system of unequal justice. Let’s look at this, if the the founding criminal forefathers of America believe, and who by the way spoke so eloquently on the virtues of freedom while holding my ancestors in bondage, and subseqently the modern day benefactors of their treachery hold the content of character ethos most important, why the need for 13,14 and 15th amendemts to the constitution? Or by the way the plethora of various other anti-descrimination laws passed relative to housing discrimination and employment? Why would these laws be necessary in the first place — if the mythology surrounding this young mans statement had genuine or subsititive reality attached to it?

    Here is fact, this country was founded on the color line — remember that so that you don’t forget. RGIII gave the template or stock answer the white establishment wanted to hear, this subsequently too will not effect or lessen RG’s potential endorsement dollars going forward–that will substantially out pace his NFL salary. Pro atheletes are told to remain A potliical. RG’s comments are based upon idealogy not reality, that’s the point, and Parker heard this coupled with his personal experiences and called into question RG’s cultural conscienscousness.

    Now, the point whereby I disagree is his statement in the micro conttext is that because RG has braids he’s a brother or down, Parker made inference to this in his diatribe. I disagree, there are plenty of black people who wear or will wear the regalia externally while having no attachement internally to the culture. And, this white fiance thing, to RGIII if true–figure what color is your mother? If a blackwomen is good enough to raise and nurture you, why then isn’t she good enough to marry?

    And don’t give me that you can’t help who you fall in love with crap, because show me the case whereby a rich white women has taken and married a poor blackman. It’s rhetrocial because you can’t!!! To all Africans be they diasporatic or continental understand who the enemy is and isn’t. Understand, who robbed the the African in America of his name, language, God, culture folkways and moorays, who continues to loot the continent of Africa of its natrual resources, (which by the way is the richest continent on the planet).

    Furthermore, understand your’re not an American your an African brought to America as a source of cheap labor, meaning free! Statments like the one RG made are born out of a cultural dissassocative disorder.


  • Phillip

    Their I agree with you 100%

  • Phillip

    Yasir I agree with 100%


    Wow! I cant believe some of the comments here especialy from the professor! A professor??? You should have kept that part and your ignorant comments to yo’ self! Is that “BLACK” enough for you? Marion, I’m glad to see there are people like you can get your point accross in a very articulate, educated manner without getting all ignorant. But, I guess that means you are trying to be white? LMAO!!!! Parker gave a statement NOT his “observations”. He should stand-up be a man and own his ignorance. He needs to appologize, carry his tail home between his legs and work on becoming a better more aware erson. Hating on your own people because you do not agree with their personal choices is plain wrong! Black people need to get rid of the “crabs in a barrel mentality” amoung each other. That is what’s holding us all back! Good convo people:).

  • ying young

    He needs to be fired!! I dislike racest people and he is the biggest racest ever.