Rob Parker Has Taken His Shock Journalism Too Far

By Michael Collins

Guess what folks…it’s the end of the year, and that must mean that ESPN’s Rob Parker is due to say something insulting to someone. Usually he picks on a particular fan base, or a team. Sometimes he even goes as far as to misreport or spread falsehoods about coaches or players.

But this time Parker went too far. He didn’t just cross the line of poor taste and judgement, he leaped over it as if he had a red cape and blue leotards on under his suit. When someone says something that makes even Stephen A. Smith uncomfortable, you know that things have gone south in a hurry.

It was Rob Parker’s so-called astute position on ESPN’s First Take (a show that will never be confused with actual news or relevant discussions) that Robert Griffin III might not actually be a “brother”. I can’t explain it any better than in Parker’s own words:

“I’ve talked to some people in Washington, D.C. Some people in [Griffin’s] press conferences. Some people I’ve known for a long time. My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is … is he a ‘brother,’ or is he a cornball ‘brother?’ He’s not really … he’s black, 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’d want to hang out with. I just want to find out about him. I don’t know, because I keep hearing these things. He has a white fiancé, people talking about that he’s a Republican … there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue. Tiger Woods was like, ‘I have black skin, but don’t call me black.’ People wondered about Tiger Woods early on — about him.”

All I can gather from this ridiculous stuttering nimrod is that he’s run out of people and groups to insult, so he now has to turn his blathering idiocy towards his own race. Bravo Rob…Bravo. Way to burn the bridge on both ends.

The real question is, why was this even a topic of discussion? What in the world do RGIII’s preferences for a mate, or what his political beliefs are, or how he spends his time off the field have to do with football or the NFL? Pardon the lack of eloquence here, but not a damn thing.

I’ve always tried to take Rob Parker with a grain of salt. The only time he really got me worked into a froth was this past January when he unnecessarily attacked Atlanta sports fans (and then refused to answer when I sent him proof that refuted some of his claims). Other than that, he’s just another big mouth who uses shock journalism to try to get some nice ratings for his employer. I really have no use for him, and on the rare occasion that I might tune in to First Take, if I see him on the screen I’ll immediately move on.

This wouldn’t be the first time Parker said something he would eventually have to retract or apologize for. In October, 2008, Parker had to publicly apologize for making a false claim on Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV that Kirk Cousins, then a Michigan State quarterback, was involved in a brawl between Michigan State football and hockey players. Cousins’ parents testified that their son was at home with them at the time of the incident.

Parker also had to leave his job with at Detroit newspaper in 2009 after an incident with then-Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli. As the Lions completed an 0-16 season, Parker asked Marinelli if he wished that his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator (referring to Joe Barry, who is Marinelli’s son-in-law).

This was an unwarranted, and unneeded attack on RGIII, and Parker should be called out for it. There is no place in the world of sports journalism for this kind of ill-conceived rhetoric, and even the producers of a cluster-you-know-what type show like First Take have to recognize that fact.

Rob Parker went far beyond giving an opinion or debating a valid point, and moved into a realm of political incorrectness that would have even Bill Maher blushing. ESPN should seriously consider whether Rob Parker is the best representation of their company, even on their biggest schlock of a show.

UPDATE: ESPN has suspended Rob Parker indefinitely. See story by my colleague Riley Schmitt


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports NFL and MLB Network Manager, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook

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