A name now infamous in D.C. sports, Rob Parker –- the ESPN host synonymous with the ‘cornball brother’ phrase for which he labeled Redskins QB Robert Griffin III –- apologized Wednesday for his comments made nearly one week ago.
“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.”
In case you’ve forgotten the comments that fueled the apology and sent Redskins and Griffin fans into a tailspin, Parker – an African-American himself – called the quarterback a “cornball brother” saying he “kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause; he’s not one of us.”
He later went on to say Griffin is “kind of black, but he’s not really the kind of guy you want to hang out with cause he’s off to something else” pointing out that his fiancée is white, and speculated that he may even be a Republican.
Griffin himself has said he doesn’t want to be defined by the color of his skin; that he’d rather people judge him by his work ethic, character and personality.
“I am an African-American in America,” Griffin said. “That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”
If you’d like to let Rob Parker know that you accept his apology, you can tweet him here.