Rob Parker Calls out RG3's 'Blackness' on ESPN's First Take

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterDecember 13, 2012

Robert Griffin III isn't black enough. 

According to Rob Parker, from ESPN's First Take, Robert Griffin III may be "cornball black." 

He's just, you know, throwing it out there. 

USA Today reports on the latest absurdity from what has quickly become more of a sideshow of wacky opinions than a real cutting-edge debate forum for sports minds. 

Update: Friday, December 14, 11:50 a.m. ET 

According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, Rob Parker has been suspended as the network reviews the matter.

Rob Parker has been suspended by ESPN "until further notice." ESPN says "we are conducting a full review."

— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) December 14, 2012

---End of Update


Rob Parker Has Questions

It all starts with Parker asking his fellow hosts on Thursday's First Take whether Griffin is really black enough: 

But my question, which is just a straight, honest question, is: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?

He goes on to explain where he is coming from after Cari Champion and Skip Bayless remain clueless.

It's as if he was walking the plank and was asked, "Please, just go ahead and jump off completely." He continued: 

He's not real. OK, 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 want to hang out with because he's off to something else.

You have it straight from Parker's mouth. Griffin is not down with the cause or someone you want to hang out with, two vital prerequisites to assuring blackness, right?

Champion then asks Parker to dig deeper. She really could have handed him a literal shovel at this point. 

Well because that's just how I want to find out about him. I don't know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk about how he's a Republican, which, I don't really care, there's no information at all. 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.'

According to this caricature of Parker—someone I am not quite sure is the real guy who once wrote for The Detroit News or just a character who spits pitiful phlegm in the form of absurd opinions, much like all the zany characters on the show—RG3 must be vetted for his blackness. 

Ah, and I was over here worried about his knee.

I never thought to embark on a wonderful little jaunt into the seedy underbelly of things that don't matter. 

Here's something that I don't think has quite resonated with the older culture sticking their feet into ancient concrete mandating that things look, smell and taste a certain way. 

There is no one way to be "Black," just as there is no one way for me to be "Latino." People, like Griffin, would like to embrace their heritage but at the same time define themselves in unique ways. 

Not a bad thing. 

One thing that always stuck with me is an episode of No Reservations with Talib Kweli. Anthony Bourdain sat down with the hip-hop artists who succinctly wrapped up what kind of world we are inching toward.

The whole minute and half of video is great, but the pertinent portion starts at the one-minute mark. 

Essentially, leave RG3 alone, especially if the only real issue you have is he doesn't conform to an outdated criteria of what he should look, talk and think like. 


First Take: First Name in Trolling

As for First Take, these types of audacious claims will only become more prevalent. 

We live in an age where you can watch three volleyball players getting smashed in the face at once or see what a young Matt Bonner dunking looks like. The point is you can keep your mind entertained with pretty much anything nowadays on this magical Internets device. 

Audience attention is at a premium, so if you aren't loud, be controversial. At least, that's the lesson we get from shows like First Take

Of course debate shows think they have to push forward to keep your attention. When the loud shouting isn't enough to draw the eyes, their hosts will make absurd statements that will keep you watching for a day or so. 

Just know that the next controversy is sitting on the First Take schedule somewhere in the future. As for Griffin, he is just black enough for him, and that's alright. 


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