Parker’s Comments A Sign Of Times
Rob Parker, the former Detroit News columnist and part-time ESPN commentator, showed that experience offers no protection from idiotic statements.
While on First Take, Parker took a moment to question the racial authenticity of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Parker cited as evidence Griffin’s white fiance, the unconfirmed rumor that the former Heisman Trophy winner is a closet Republican and the chatter of unidentified friends in the metro D.C. area.
On the positive side, Griffin’s hair style apparently fits Parker’s assessment of what is proper style for African American men. Just for good measure, Parker also dragged Tiger Woods into the mix, suggesting Woods didn’t want to be identified as being black.
It would be insensitive and ignorant for me to assume an understanding of how painful such comments can be in the African American community. But we should all recognize the harmful ignorance that pervades in this country.
Ill-informed mob mentality has overtaken independent thought, and we are often forced to defend ourselves not because of our actions, but because of someone else’s opinion on how we should act, believe, speak, worship or dress.
This is what Parker has done. For reasons hard to fathom, he has chosen to attack someone who doesn’t fit within his ideal of what a black man should be. Parker is not the lone guilty figure, nor is this problem confined to the African American community. It’s a national epidemic.
Bob Costas was lam-basted for suggesting our country’s gun culture is partly responsible for the Dec. 1 shooting death of Kasandra Perkins, who was killed by her boyfriend, Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher. Belcher later turned the gun on himself, committing suicide in front of his coach Romeo Crennel and Chief’s general manager Scott Pioli.
Instead of using the tragedy as a platform to discuss violence, Costas, and Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, whose column about the murder/suicide Costas referenced, were called out as nut jobs trying to rewrite the Second Amendment.
The fact that neither spoke about changing gun laws didn’t matter. Costas and Whitlock were guilty of thought not deemed appropriate and therefore needed to be insulted and marginalized.
That Parker made this diatribe on First Take was no accident. The show features opinions to the extreme, often at high volume and verging on the ridiculous.
It’s been an extremely successful formula and when handled correctly can offer insight into areas deemed too hot for other programs. But when left to the primal urges of outrageous commentary in the continuous search for higher ratings, fairness can fall victim to unfounded accusations in which the son of two Army veterans, who majored in political science at Baylor, finished with a 3.67 GPA and has dazzled with his skill on the field and his maturity off it, gets targeted for systematic abuse.
In that RG3 is just like anyone who doesn’t fit the image of what others believe is acceptable.