It hasn’t been a banner week for ESPN commentators.
Shortly after the sports-media behemoth suspended two Washington, D.C. radio hosts for calling a transgender athlete “it,” ESPN has suspended “First Take” regular Rob Parker over comments he made about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Parker is off the air “until further notice,” a network spokesman tells SI.com.
“First Take” — which is sort of ESPN2’s version of “Crossfire” — was talking about comments Griffin, who’s African-American, made in reference to questions about his race
“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said at a press conference Wednesday. “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.”
Parker said (you can watch the video below) Griffin’s remarks raised the following question for him: “Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
Asked by his co-hosts to clarify what that meant, Parker continues, “He’s black, he kind of does his 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 really want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.”
Parker also notes that Griffin’s fiancee is white, and there have been reports the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner is a Republican. “I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.” There’s also a ridiculous question from fellow panelist Skip Bayless about the meaning of Griffin’s braided hair.
He’s digging deeper, all right. Parker defended his comments on Twitter after Thursday’s show but has been silent since then.
Watch the video of Parker’s comments below and let us know what you think.