An ESPN analyst sparked controversy yesterday when he called Washington Redskins star quarterback Robert Griffin III a “cornball brother” who dates white women and votes Republican.
At issue for ESPN analyst Rob Parker was Griffin’s refusal to be defined by his skin color.
On ESPN’s First Take show yesterday, Parker said, “my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
In an interview with USA Today, Griffin made his stance clear on the issue of his blackness: “For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do. I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”
From National Review:
Parker, a columnist at a handful of outlets over the years, has a history of stirring the pot when it comes to race issues in sports. He teeters back and forth between evaluating how “black” Griffin is – “kind of black,” “not really down with the cause” or “not one of us,” but it’s the evidence that prompted his hand wringing that’s so disturbing. “We all know he has a white fiancé. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue.”
UPDATE: The response from the network was swift. ESPN called Parker’s comments “inappropriate” and suggested their might be some disciplinary action.
“The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps,” David Scott, ESPN’s director of communications, said on Twitter.
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