Even after ESPN First Take’s Rob Parker questioned Robert Griffin III’s blackness, he did not initially back down from his comments. On Twitter, at least, he was retweeting those that agreed with him, calling his critics “typical and uneducated” and pompously boasting that he wouldn’t be reprimanded in any way. Well he was, with an indefinite suspension, and now Parker has executed a complete 180 to save his own ass.
And so we arrive at this blanket apology for the sake of his own career, at ESPN or otherwise.
“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.”