According to Washington CBS Local:
Shortly before Robert Griffin III led the Washington Redskins to the team’s first home playoff game in 13 years, an ESPN commentator who questioned the quarterback’s standing as a black man made his first on-air comments since his suspension.
Rob Parker, who was suspended last month for referring to the rookie quarterback as a “cornball brother” with possible Republican leanings, offered his first on-air interview since the incident on ESPN. In an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit, Parker, a contributor for ESPN’s “First Take,” clarified that the controversial segment came from normal, everyday conversations that happen in the black community and was not intended to be directed at Griffin.
“It was just a conversation that’s had in the black community when athletes or famous entertainers or whatever push away from their people,” Parker said. “That’s what it’s about.” Parker added: “The whole thing is, and I want to make this clear, I wasn’t saying he wasn’t being black enough. When people say that, it’s just not true. I was saying these are conversations that take place once a guy pushes away. It was never aimed at him, [nor] was I calling him that.”
Before the segment took place, Parker said the staff had gone over what he had planned on saying during a pre-production meeting. He said that the ESPN staff had an idea of where the conversation was going to go, but that it wasn’t meant to slam RGIII or be malicious.
“It was never to condemn the young man,” Parker said. “RGIII is a great, young man with a bright future.”
After initially posting the topic on Rob Parker’s inflammatory “cornball brotha” statement on ESPN, I had to take a step back and think about what he said and then look around my universe. What I realized are a few things, 1) what he said wasn’t unlike some rumblings that I had heard well before Mr. Parker stated it within my greater community. 2) I had to admit that it was something I would have said 15 years and a whole lifetime ago. 3) Identifying yourself in another person is one of those aspects of life that we all still hold on to, even if we say or preach otherwise. If you even look at the political rhetoric over the last 12 years, one thing I kept hearing was, “Can I have a beer with this guy? Or gal?” As if that were a legitimate qualification for President? However, it really WAS an argument people made FOR W. Bush in the race up to the 2004 elections. Look how that turned out, he daggone nearly broke the world and we’re still reeling from his tenure.
One of the most poignant sayings is “Sunday is the most segregated day in America.” White folk en masse pray with White folk. Black folk en masse pray with Black folk. Asian, Hispanic, whatever… in general, people pray and socialize with those they identify with. This isn’t a new issue, it’s as old as time. That isn’t to say that there aren’t more integrated churches (I belong to one – in theory). Irish mainly socialize with Irish folk, Sihks in general socialize with other Sihks from a cultural perspective. What I had to understand is that Rob Parker wasn’t aiming at RG3’s talent or stature, but his identity… which is something EACH of us strive to define. Where I think Mr. Parker went astray (as do most people) is that identity is SELF-defined unless you decide to let others define it for you. Mr. Parker has NO idea what RG3 may have gone through with this woman. He doesn’t really know THEIR story. However, even if it’s as superficial as Kim Kardashian’s personality, it’s RG3’s prerogative to decide what and who he wants to be – that includes who he wants to socialize with. So, I think the discussion of self-identification is valid, but if it’s limited to absolute racial identity, then the argument is moot and the point lost. Elevate the conversation Mr. Parker, but elevate the way you think about it as well.