ESPN announced on its website Friday that it has suspended commentator Rob Parker, who questioned the “blackness” of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III while on the air a day earlier.
“Following yesterday’s comments, Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice,” spokesman Jos Krulewitz said in a statement. “We are conducting a full review.”
The spokesman made no further comment on the matter.
ESPN earlier quickly responded to the racially charged comments, calling them “inappropriate” and hinting the network may take some action against him.
“The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps,” David Scott, ESPN’s director of communications, said on Twitter.
During a segment of ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday, Parker said:
“Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?
“He’s not really. He’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us. He’s kind of black, but he’s not really like the guy you really want to hang out with, because he’s off to something else.
“… I want to find about about him. I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée, then there was all this talk about he’s a Republican. … 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 have black skin but don’t call me black.’”
Parker’s comments came in the wake of remarks Griffin made after practice Wednesday — in response to reporters’ questions about race — and reported in USA Today:
“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.”
Griffin’s father told USA Today that Parker “needs to define what ‘one of us’ is. That guy needs to define that. I wouldn’t say it’s racism. I would just say some people put things out there about people so they can stir things up,” Robert Griffin II said.
“Robert is in really good shape on who he is, where he needs to get to in order to seek the goals he has in life … so I don’t take offense.”
RGIII didn’t respond directly but he did tweet that “I’m thankful for a lot of things in life and one of those things is your support. Thank you.”
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