My daughter apologizes a lot.
When she doesn’t clean up her room, when she forgets to put her dishes in the sink, when she leaves her Barbies on the floor and etc, etc.
One day, I asked her why was she apologizing, because she was really sorry or something else and in a moment of clarity she said.
“Well daddy, if you are mad at me you won’t get me any toys, so I say I am sorry because I like my toys.”
Kids can be brutally honest at times, so she wasn’t really sorry she left all of her Barbies on the floor, she was sorry because by leaving the Barbies on the floor it might cause her to not get new ones.
Journalism is Rob Parker’s toy and he uses it in a way that is ignorant and hurtful to amuse himself. When someone threatens to take away his toy because he has abused those privileges with his ignorance what does he do? He apologizes.
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.
Don’t be fooled by the apology, he was forced to do that. This is the real Rob Parker.
He is use to making apologies because he has made a lot of them throughout his career. Here are a few examples.
1- Once called Hank Aaron a coward for being in attendance when Barry Bonds broke his home run record.
2- Erroneously reported that Kirk Cousins, who was at Michigan State at the time, was in a fight with some hockey players when he was actually at church with his parents (Parker was suspended over that).
3- Questioned then Lions head coach Rod Marinelli about Lions DC Joe Barry, Marinelli’s son-in-law, inquiring whether Marinelli wished that his daughter had “married a better defensive coordinator. (he resigned after that).
4- Flirts in an unprofessional manner with 1st Take host Cari Champion bringing flowers and gifts on the set.
Rob Parker hasn’t changed in four days, he is the same person who has acted unprofessional for years, the only thing that has changed is that his job security.
I don’t begrudge him for his fake apology because he is trying to save his job. If he is fired from ESPN where else is he going to go? Furthermore, while I believe his comments warrant a firing, the show he was on encourages this type of ignorance, so they need to be held accountable as well.
An apology isn’t enough, there needs to be a systematic change of how discussions are done on 1st Take. Until that is done all apologies and actions taken by ESPN are just to appease and get the media off their back, not to change the way they race bait on the show.
Mark my words when and if Rob Parker gets his job back, we will be having this discussion again, because as I look in my living room there are still Barbies on the floor.