ESPN Host: Is QB Griffin a 'Cornball Brother'?

Rob Parker seems to question RGIII's authenticity as an African-American

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2012 7:18 PM CST

(Newser) – Robert Griffin III is a young black quarterback for the Redskins who has handled questions about his race with thoughtfulness, writes Dan Steinberg in the Washington Post. "RGIII" doesn't make a big deal of it because he says he wants to be the best quarterback, not the best black quarterback. But he's careful not to diminish what he might mean to black fans. All of which led to a discussion about Griffin and race on ESPN today, prompting commentator Rob Parker, also black, to ask: "Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?" By way of explanation, Parker referred to Griffin's "white fiancee" and rumors that the quarterback is a Republican. "He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with," goes the thinking, Parker added. (USA Today has the transcript.)

At the Grio, Todd Johnson slams Parker's "irresponsible" comments. "When you talk about race without context—when you just merely mention things like: 'We all know [Griffin] has a white fiancee' or he may be 'Republican'—you don’t advance any type of dialogue, you hinder it," he writes. It's not that Parker shouldn't talk about race, but he should realize "the gravity" of doing so on national TV. Otherwise, "the barriers to discussing race and sports together will just keep getting taller." Robert Littal at BlackSportsOnline also has a critical take here.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.   (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Jose Yau)
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Video of Rob Parker on ESPN.   (YouTube)

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