If you have never tuned in to ESPN’s First Take that features host/moderator Cari Champion, analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, then you are missing one of the best sports debate shows on Television. On yesterdays episode, guest analyst Rob Parker (a former Detroit columnist) took exception to superstar rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III saying, “For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do.I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”
Due to this statement, Rob Parker went on to have the following conversation with Cari Champion:
Rob Parker: “But my question, which is just a straight, honest question, is: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?”
Cari Champion: “What does that mean?”
Parker: “He’s not real. OK, he’s black, he kind of does the thing, but he’s not really down with the cause. He’s not one of us. He’s kind of black but he’s not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.
Champion: “Why is that your question?”
Parker: “Well because that’s just how I want to find out about him. I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk about how he’s a Republican, which, I don’t really care, there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was like, I’ve got black skin but don’t call me black.”
Parker went on to explain that these are honest conversations that real people in the barbershops of America are having and he wanted to bring it to the table.
None of us can deny that their is a stigma placed on Black quarterbacks in the NFL: many think that black are great athletes but don’t possess the cerebral abilities to truly understand and execute all the duties of the position. In many people’s eyes, RGIII is the prototype that dispels that myth. He is an amazing athlete yet he possess deadly accuracy with pocket presence and most importantly, he is quite intelligent. RGII may possibly be not only the future of the Washington Redskins but also the future of the NFL franchise.
With that being said, does Rob Parker need to lay off the rookie or does he have a point and does Robert Griffin III need to identify more with his “blackness” and shoulder the weight of moving the culture forward?