RGIII Refuses to be Defined by His Race. Rob Parker Apparently Has a Problem With This. (Update: ESPN Suspends Parker)
I don't know who Rob Parker is, either. Apparently he's a less successful race troll than Jason Whitlock, and has a guest gig on ESPN. Proof, I guess, that ESPN can't fill its hours with intelligent people who can talk about sports.
Today, the subject turned to the fact that Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is engaged to his girlfriend, who is white. Rob Parker, who is black, finds this very upsetting. Spike Lee could not be reached for comment.
Rob Parker, a former Detroit News columnist, questioned RGIII's blackness and claimed he wasn't authentic. "Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother," Parker asked.
"I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he's a Republican."
The bombastic [Steven A.] Smith had to put an end to it.
"I'm uncomfortable with where we just went," he said. "RGIII, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancée is none of our business, it's irrelevant, he can live his life in whatever way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that's his business, that's his life, he can live his life."
That should be obvious. After Steven A. Smith played his unlikely role as the voice of reason, Cari Champion and Skip Bayless both took exception to Parker's "cornball" curve. But Parker stuck to his guns, or whatever metaphor is currently Bob Costas-approved for use with discussions of the NFL.
Parker: He's not real. OK, 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 kind of black but he's not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else.
Champion: "Why is that your question?"
Parker: "Well because that's just how I want to find out about him. I don't know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about how he's a Republican, which, I don't really care, 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've got black skin but don't call me black."
Well, that could be because Tiger Woods is not black, he's mixed race, like millions of other Americans including the president and my very own son. Woods chose not to reject the less visible components of his racial background, but instead embraced them all. Rob Parker apparently has a problem with that, too.
Parker's "cornball" thing would be a racist comment and would bring down the wrath of Al Sharpton like the Sweet Meteor of Death if it hadn't come from him. USA Today's Chris Chase, who is black like Parker and RGIII but apparently not in a "cornball" way whatever that means, sums things up well.
I live in D.C. and have been caught up in the whirlwind as much as anyone. I have a twice-daily Google Alert for RGIII's name. I've been tuning into local sports radio for the first time in years. I've watched the replay of Sunday's game five times. I've been nudging my wife to get me his jersey for Christmas. I was only half-kidding when I told my sister she should name her newborn Robert, "Griffin" or "the third." Through all of that, I can't remember the last time I heard someone talk about RGIII's race.
That's not one of those holier-than-thou "I don't see people's color" statements. It's merely a point of fact. Other than hearing Michael Wilbon mention it on PTI and seeing a Washington Post article about RGIII's role in the black community, I don't hear the topic come up. It's discussed, but it's not considered as important as it would have been 20 years ago. It hasn't been a talking point. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?
That is the way it's suppose to be, and the way MLK wanted things to be. But people like Rob Parker have a problem with it. Tell me again, who's the racist?
As for me, I left DC years ago and I despise the Redskins down to the marrow of my bones. But RGIII is really something to watch on the field, and you can't help but love the way he handles himself off the field. He is a true class act and if he stays healthy he will be a legend. I just hope the Cowboys can steal him somehow. This white Texan wants a quarterback who knows how to beat other teams, not our own. The accuracy of his arm and the quality of his decisions means billions more than the irrelevant color of his skin.
Update: ESPN has suspended Parker indefinitely.