ESPN has suspended pundit Rob Parker after suggesting that pro quarterback phenom Robert Griffin III (aka RG3) might be a "cornball brother," during an interview on ESPN on Thursday.
Reacting to a previous remark by the Washington Redskins' star that race does not define him as a person, Parker asked his fellow panelists on the show what "kind of black" Griffin is.
"We keep hearing this, so it makes me wonder deeper about him," said Parker, who is black. "My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?"
Parker's remark elicited an immediate barrage of questions from the show's other co-hosts, asking him to explain what he meant.
Parker responded: "He's not really. OK, he's black, but he's not really down with the cause . . . He's kind of black, but he's not really the guy you want to hang out with . . . We all know he has a white fiancée. People always talk about how he's Republican. There's no information at all. I'm just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue."
Griffin made the race definition comment in an interview.
"I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don't have to be defined by that," Griffin told USA Today. "We always try to find similarities in life, no matter what it is so they're going to try to put you in a box with other African-American quarterbacks, Vick, Newton, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon . . . That's the goal. Just to go out and not try to prove anybody wrong but just let your talents speak for themselves."
Attempting to defend his RG3 remark, Parker used the example of golf pro Tiger Woods who is bi-racial, with an African-American father and Asian mother.
“We did find out with Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods was like 'I don't want to, I got black skin, but don't call me black,'” said Parker.
Rather than solely identify with his African heritage, Woods branded himself as a "Cablinasian," which he believed most accurately defined his Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian ancestry.
Parker finished digging his hole with the observation that Griffin has braids, which "to me that is very urban . . . (and) wearing braids is, you're a brother, you're a brother."
After the show, Parker defended the comments which caused an immediate uproar online, saying his remarks were representative of what "real people" discuss in "the barbershop."
This wasn't Parker's first brush with controversy. He once called baseball great Hank Aaron, who held the record for most career home runs, a coward for refusing to attend the game in which Barry Bonds would likely break his record.
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