Rob Parker Crosses The Line

Joshua LobdellCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2008

Rob Parker, sports columnist for the Detroit News, crossed an ethical line during Sunday’s Detroit Lions post-game press conference. Many of us long time Detroit sports fans already knew that Parker likes to make himself a part of the story, and stir the pot a bit.

All of which is fine, and in a lot of ways, is what we Detroit News readers expect of him. However, going after a football coach's daughter should result in his immediate firing.


For those who don’t know what I am talking about, Parker went after Lions head coach Rod Marinelli on the topic of Marinelli's son-in-law, Lions defensive coordinator Joe Barry.


This has been a season-long line of questioning of Barry, who has built the worst defense in the history of the NFL. After asking Marinelli several times why Barry is still employed, Parker asked Marinelli if he wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator.


As a writer who would say just about anything and as a Rob Parker fan, I found this question to be highly offensive, and completely out of line. If I were Marinelli, I would have punched Parker right in his face. Daughters are out of bounds, and for that matter, so are families.


Sure, grill the guy for being terrible, grill Barry for a defense that gave up touchdowns on five consecutive New Orleans Saint drives, but leave family out of it.


What Parker has done is make Marinelli a sympathetic figure in this community. Even though Marinelli is an awful head coach, and all Lions fans would like to see him gone, Parker's actions have made that less inevitable.


We all know how William Clay Ford runs his team, and now Parker has given Ford the excuse he needed not to fire him at season end. In Ford’s head, he can justify keeping Marinelli because Parker was just picking on him. "He isn’t that bad of a coach." "Rob Parker is just a jerk." I guarantee you these thoughts are bouncing around in Ford’s head today.


I think Rob Parker should be fired immediately. I read his column in this morning’s Detroit News, and frankly I believe it to be directed by his editor. I don’t buy his explanation and truly believe the folks who publish the newspaper forced him to write what is essentially a retraction.


Now, I have been a big critic of the Detroit News recently, but that aside, the editors there must stand up for what is right and fire Rob Parker today. Rob is a New York guy who co-hosts a show there on ESPN radio, WEPN. I don’t know if this was a strategic move on his part to get fired, but even so the News Editors should do so.