NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A television commentator is feeling the heat after his remarks on sensational Washington Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III sparked controversy Thursday.
“My question, which is just a straight honest question: is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Rob Parker said on ESPN’s “First Take.”
Asked to explain himself, Parker continued: “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 really want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.”
The network has suspended Parker “until further notice.”
“We are conducting a full review,” ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said Friday, according to the Washington Post.
Griffin said he refused to be defined by his race earlier this week when asked about being an African-American quarterback in the NFL.
“I don’t know because I keep hearing these things,” Parker said on “First Take.” “We all know he has a white fiance. 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’ve got black skin but don’t call me black.”
Parker was quickly slammed for his remarks on Twitter. In a response to the Washington Post, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said “Robert can certainly take care of himself. Nonetheless, I hope that our men and for that matter, my own kids, will never beg for authenticity from someone who can only talk about the things that other people have the courage to do. People need to be held accountable for the offensive things that they say.”
The Queens-born commentator’s resume includes stints at Newsday and the New York Daily News.
The rookie’s father, Robert Griffin II, responded to Parker on Thursday.
“He needs to define what ‘one of us’ is. That guy needs to define that,” he told USA Today. “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.”
Washington teammate Lorenzo Alexander had strong words on Twitter for the commentator: “Completely unprofessional i guess he should question me too since my wife is half white.”
Griffin’s status is unclear for Sunday’s game with a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. His Redskins are one game behind the NFC East-leading Giants.
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