Marcus Sorrentino via YouTube
Rob Parker discusses Robert Griffin III and calls him a 'cornball brother' on ESPN.
Rob Parker won't walk the plank.
Parker, who unleashed a racially charged spew vilifying Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III on ESPN's "First Take" has been hit with a 30 day suspension.
"Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has
established that mistakes both in judgement and communication were
made," Marcia Keegan, the ESPN executive who oversees "First Take" said
Thursday. "As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired
and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part."
Keegan said ESPN has "enhanced the editorial oversight" of "First
Take." She said "disciplinary measures" with the people responsible "for
these failures" have also been taken.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
ESPN's Rob Parker says he has reached out to Robert Griffin III's agent to offer apology.
The 30 days suspension, which might be viewed as a slap on the wrist,
comes one week after Parker, an African American, was suspended for
insisting Griffin isn't black enough to suit him. "Is he a brother or a
cornball brother?" Parker asked on "First Take."
"He's black, he kind of does the thing," Parker said. "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."
Keegan said the incident will not change the direction of the show.
"We will continue to discuss the important issues in sports, including
race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to
engage in it," she said. "However, we believe what we have learned here
and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better."
On Wednesday, Parker took to Twitter to apologize for his commentary.
"I blew it and I'm sincerely sorry," Parker wrote. "I completely
understand how the issue of race and sports is a sensitive one and needs
to be handled with great care. Last Thursday I failed to do that."
Parker said he reached out to Griffin's agent with the hopes of making a direct apology to the quarterback.
ESPN's decision clearly indicates other production personnel was
disciplined for allowing Parker's commentary to run not only on a "First
Take" replay but also on "The Best of First Take." It isn't clear if
Parker told the producers in advance what he was going to say about
Initially, Parker's Twitter account did not reflect the network's
concern. He did not apologize immediately, but rather posted tweets
either supporting his point of view or his right to say what he said.
Parker, a former Daily News sportswriter who is a TV and radio
personality in Detroit, had just been elevated to the primary "debater"
on the new Saturday edition of "First Take." His critics have said much
of his commentary is designed to draw attention to himself. In this case
"It's a double-edged sword over there (at ESPN)," an industry source
said. "They want these debate shows to be provocative. Then when someone
pushes too far, they've got a problem? It's tricky."
Parker clearly took those words very seriously.
Now he'll have 30 days thinking about how to choose his words.