Rob Parker, Racism and ESPN From a Cornball Brother

ESPN’s Rob Parker had a few interesting comments on Robert Griffin III; here they are, out of context, for your consumption:

“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that…We always try to find similarities in life, no matter what it is so they’re going to try to put you in a box with other African-American quarterbacks – Vick, Newton, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon…That’s the goal. Just to go out and not try to prove anybody wrong but just let your talents speak for themselves.”

We keep hearing this so it makes me wonder deeper about him. I’ve talked to some people in Washington D.C. My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is he a brother or is he a cornball brother”

He’s not really. Okay, he’s black, but he’s not really down with the cause…

He’s kind of black, but He’s not really the guy you want to hang out with. He’s off to something else.

We all know he has a white fiancée. People always talk about how he’s Republican. There’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.”

I am going to do my best to defend Rob Parker and  to tell you why he was wrong at the same time. This is a long and difficult path, so bear with me.

It is 2012, and as much as we like to pretend it does not, racism still exists in this country. And It is no more prevalent than in the African-American community.

I have said this for years. Yes, I am black, so I can say whatever I want about this subject; but if you are not black you cannot. See the problem?

Parker frames his comments under the guise that he is trying to get to know and “understand” Griffin, which he could easily do by spending time with him instead of asking the opinions of those in the D.C. community who do not know him personally, either.

I grew up in the inner-city of Cleveland and went to Catholic school most of my life. I spent one semester of first grade in public school. If you have ever heard me on the More Than a Fan podcast you would likely think I am a white man. As I said already, I am not.

I live in the suburbs where the population is 97% Caucasian, I have a very good job, and I do not rob or shoot people. I have never been married, but most of my girlfriends have been white, which is something I never hide. I am also a member of “the party of Lincoln.” Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.

According to Rob Parker, I am a “cornball brother.” Most of my friends, black and white, call me Damien. The other type of “brother” are the ones that are not responsible to themselves, their families, or the rest of society.

They likely do not have jobs, have multiple unsupported children, and are not educated beyond ninth grade. In the African-American community if you are a “cornball brother” you are considered white and are therefore ostracized from the greater community. You get made fun of, get called “white,” and are often questioned about your sexuality and about slave status.

When I explain to people that I grew up in the murder capital of Cleveland (4th district, Mt. Pleasant neighborhood) people often asked what I did to get out. Easy, I went to school, got decent grades, got a job and moved. They let anyone do those same things regardless of skin color. Shocking, I know.

Parker and others in the African-American community should replace to term “cornball brother” with “model” and do everything they can to produce as many of these as possible.

The “cause” should be producing more African-American males like Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon, and Robert Griffin III. Each are past or present successful African-American NFL players who should be considered “cornball brothers” models.

Parker refers to the “cause” in his comments. What is the cause? It should be ending racism within the race, but it seems like it is easier to throw the race card around when something does not go one’s way versus eradicating the stereotype.

Many in the African-American community would say Parker is 100% accurate in his comments, but Parker’s problem is that he cannot say what he said on ESPN. And in reality, ESPN did the right thing by suspending him.

What should ESPN do with Rob Parker? The same thing they did with Rush Limbaugh and Jay Mariotti; terminate him. In corporate America the term “suspended until further notice” is code for “finding a way to terminate with cause,” and in this case it is the right thing to do.

No one, Rob Parker or Rush Limbaugh, should get away with this behavior and if needed Disney, ESPN’s parent company, should step in and fire Rob Parker to send a message to its columnists throughout the company.

Disney does its best to come off as the biggest of family companies. How long did it take ESPN to “fire” Jay Mariotti, four days? Do the same here because not even Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson can defend Rob Parker’s comments.

There is a lot of truth in what Parker said, but his venue and the context in which he made those comments makes him look foolish. Parker needs not apologize to anyone except for those in the African American community that think being a “brother” is the right path in life.

It isn't what you say, but how you say it.

Parker transcript provided by The Big Lead

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