Rob Parker (sports journalist)

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Rob Parker
Born(1964-01-18) January 18, 1964 (age 48)
Jamaica, Queens, New York, U.S.
OccupationSports columnist, TV sports anchor
Years active1986(?)-present
 
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Rob Parker
Born(1964-01-18) January 18, 1964 (age 48)
Jamaica, Queens, New York, U.S.
OccupationSports columnist, TV sports anchor
Years active1986(?)-present

Rob Parker (born January 18, 1964) is an American sports columnist for ESPNNewYork.com and ClickOnDetroit.com. Parker gained fame as a regular on ESPN's First Take, where he debated Skip Bayless on the 1st and 10 segment, and is still a frequent contributor to the show. He also is on ESPN Numbers Never Lie. He is also a regular on WDIV Local 4 Sports Final Edition.

Parker attended Southern Connecticut State University and Columbia University for graduate studies in journalism. Before becoming the second black sports columnist at The Detroit News after Terry Foster in 1993, Parker was a reporter for The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, The Daily News in New York and The Cincinnati Enquirer. He was also the first black sports columnist at Newsday in New York in 1995.

Controversies

Parker, who is African American, is not shy to discuss the racial aspects of current sports events, such as the NBA off-court dress policy, or the lack of African Americans in NFL coaching positions. He penned a much-maligned column where he called Hank Aaron a "coward" for declining to attend when Barry Bonds would break the career home run record.

In October 2008, Parker erroneously reported that Kirk Cousins, a quarterback for the Michigan State Spartans, was involved in a fight with members of the Michigan State hockey team. At the time of the fight, Cousins was at church with his parents. After being publicly reproved by head coach Mark Dantonio at his weekly news conference, Parker was suspended by The Detroit News for two weeks.[1]

On December 21, 2008, at a press conference following the Lions' 42–7 loss to the New Orleans Saints, During the Detroit Lions historic 0-16 season Rob Parker caused some controversy when he addressed a question Lions head coach Rod Marinelli about Lions defensive coordinator Joe Barry, Marinelli's son-in-law, inquiring whether Marinelli wished that his daughter had "married a better defensive coordinator."[2] The question was criticized as unprofessional and inappropriate. The next day, Parker wrote that the comment was "an attempt at humor" and not a malicious attack.[3] Parker wrote no further columns forThe Detroit News, nor did he attend any press conferences, following the incident. On January 6, 2009, The Detroit News announced that Parker had resigned from the newspaper the previous week.[4]

On December 13, 2012, on the ESPN's First Take, the subject of Robert Griffin III came up and an answer Griffin gave at a press conference that happened on December 12. In the press conference, Griffin was asked about his race and being a quarterback in the NFL. Griffin stated, among other things: "“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said. “You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I strive [for]. I am an African American, in America, and that will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.” This topic was then brought up on First Take when Rob Parker was asked, ‘What does this say about RGIII?” “This is an interesting topic,” Parker said. “For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people. I understand the whole story of I just want to be the best,” Parker continued. “Nobody’s out on the field saying to themselves, I want to be the best black quarterback. You’re just playing football, right? You want to be the best, you want to throw the most touchdowns and have the most yards and win the most games. Nobody is [thinking] that. “But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him,” Parker went on. “And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” ""Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother", and then proceeded to state Griffin wasn't "down with the cause." Other participants continued the conversation by asking Parker for further explanation:

Cari Champion: "What does that mean?"
Skip Bayless: "Explain that."
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.'

Then Skip Bayless asked Parker about RGIII’s braids. “Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.” Later, Parker was given an opportunity to clarify whether he was judging Griffin’s blackness. “I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “We could sit here and be honest, or we can be dishonest. And you can’t tell me that people in the barbershops or people that talk, they look at who your spouse is. They do. And they look at how you present yourself. People will say all the time, you’re not gonna get a job in corporate America wearing those braids. It happens all the time. Let’s not act like it doesn’t, because it does.”[5][6] Later that day, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said that Parker's comments "were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps."[7]

References

BORN 1960-1961

External links