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ESPN commentator Rob Parker's explosive and racially charged remarks about Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III on the morning show "First Take" Thursday were "inappropriate," according to the network, which said in a statement that it would "evaluate its next step."
Parker, who is African-American, stammered through a segment which started with him asking himself if the former Heisman Trophy winner is "a brother or a cornball brother."
Parker's exact words on the broadcast:
"My question which is just a straight honest question: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?" Parker asked.
"What does that mean? Explain that," other members of the panel pushed.
"He's not real. 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 kinda black, but he's not really like the guy you really want to hang out with because he's off into something else."
"Why is that your question?" the host asked Parker.
"Because that's how I - I want to find out about him. I don't know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiance. There was all this talk about he's a Republican. 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 got black skin, but don't call me black.' People got a little wondering about him early on.
Skip Bayless then chimed in with another loaded question: "What do RG3's braids say to you?"
Parker responded: "Now that's different. Because to me, that's very urban and makes you feel like - I think he would have a clean cut, if he was more straight-laced or not like - wearing braids is, you're a brother. You're a brother if you got braids on."
"Stephen A., what's your take on this?" a host asks.
The normally loquacious host seemed at a loss after Parker's diatribe, saying: "First of all, let me say this: I'm uncomfortable with where we just went."
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys (@espnmikes) tweeted a statement: "Have been asked for comment on Rob Parker comments: The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps."
Griffin has hardly avoided the race issue, speaking eloquently on the subject in a recent Comcast SportsNet video posted on December 3.
When asked about being an African-American and the star quarterback in Washington D.C., Griffin responded:
“Whenever you can relate to the population of the team that you play for, I think it makes it that much more special. I don’t play too much into the color game, because I don’t want to be the best African-American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback. But to the fans, and to the fans who think that way and look at me as an African-American, it’s important that I succeed, not only for this team, but for them. Because it gives them that motivation, that hey, you know, an African-American went out and played quarterback for my Washington Redskins. So I appreciate that, I don’t ever downplay anything like that. Whoever I can go out every week and motivate to do better and to try to go after their dreams, I’m up for that.”
Was Rob Parker out of line?