After several days of silence, ESPN commentator Rob Parker apologized for his racially charged and widely criticized remarks about Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III during a recent episode of "First Take." In what he is claiming to be a serious attempt at addressing the intersection of race and sports, Parker asked if RG3 is a "cornball brother" and questioned the rookie's personal life and rumored political beliefs.
When Parker's remarks sparked outrage on social media platforms, the talking head took to Twitter and fired back at some of his critics, seemingly asserting that he found nothing wrong with what he had said. His employer did not agree. The next day, ESPN suspended Parker "until further notice" and announced that there will be a "full review."
Five days after the "First Take" episode aired, Parker tweeted an apology:
I blew it and I'm sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert's thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one. I regrettably introduced some points that I never should have and I completely understand the strong response to them, including ESPN's reaction. Perhaps most importantly, the attention my words have brought to one of the best and brightest stars in all of sports is an unintended and troubling result. Robert Griffin III is a talented athlete who not only can do great things on the field, but off the field handles himself in a way we are all taught - with dignity, respect and pride. I've contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.
What do you think should happen in this case?