ESPN's Rob Parker apologizes for 'cornball brother' comments about RGIII
Last Thursday, ESPN host and contributor Rob Parker suggested Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III may be a “cornball brother.”
The comment got Parker suspended a day later and largely criticized on this site and others in the sports and news blogosphere.
Wednesday, nearly a week after his controversial comments, Parker apologized via his Twitter account.
“I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care,” reads Parker’s tweet. “This past Thursday, I failed to do that.”
Parker’s tweet is his first since last week’s incident. Shortly after Parker made his comments, I criticized his remarks as “irresponsible” and damaging to future conversations about how race and sports intersect.
In his apology, Parker notes that his comments on ESPN 2’s First Take “turned a productive conversation into a negative one.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Below is Parker’s apology in full:
I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert’s thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one. I regrettably introduced some points that I never should have and I completely understand the strong response to them, including ESPN’s reaction. Perhaps most importantly, the attention my words have brought to one of the best and brightest stars in all of sports is an unintended and troubling result. Robert Griffin III is a talented athlete who not only can do great things on the field, but off the field handles himself in a way we are all taught – with dignity, respect and pride. I’ve contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.
Griffin has not yet responded to Parker’s original comments or his recent apology. Parker has apparently reached out to Griffin’s agent in hopes of apologizing directly to the rookie sensation.
Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj