Sports columnist and commentator Rob Parker has put his foot in his month one too many times. He’s now out of a job.
ESPN suspended Parker last month for a racially charged comment to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. During an episode of First Take, he called Griffin a “cornball brother” and said “he’s not one of us.”
ESPN vice-president Mike Soltys broke the news via Twitter that the network has decided not to renew his contract. “Rob Parker’s contract expired at year end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew,” he wrote.
In light of the controversy, Parker says he was not questioning Griffin’s blackness and claims his comments were taken out of context.
“It was just a conversation that’s had in the black community when athletes or famous entertainers or whatever push away from their people. And that’s really what it was about,” he said in his defense.
“We saw with OJ Simpson and some other people where they say, ‘I’m not black, I’m OJ.’ So it’s more about that, not about RG III and what’s going on. It’s more about this thing we’ve battled for years about why people have pushed away from their people.”
Parker went on to say that the show’s producers knew he was going to make the comment and allowed him to proceed.
“We had a discussion inside a pre-production meeting,” he said. “Not every single word but they knew which way we were going.”
Are you buying Parker’s side of the story?