Washington Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III is arguably the most popular person in Washington D.C. currently. His approval numbers are higher that the President of the United States and members of Congress. His play on the field this season has been exceptional and Griffin looks like he is going to be headed towards a very successful NFL career. However, that didn’t prevent one ESPN pundit from throwing out the race card and making some inflammatory comments this afternoon.
Griffin has been one of the greatest stories of the NFL this season. Not only has he shattered the rookie rushing yardage record by quarterbacks set by Cam Newton last season, but he has been an exceptionally precise quarterback this year, working with limited talent surrounding him. Griffin is also tied as the league’s highest rated passer after 14 weeks.
In an interview with the USA Today newspaper yesterday, Griffin expressed his desire to remove the color of his skin to the definition of the position that he plays. I agree with Griffin. I have watched countless interviews of Griffin this season, I think he is of the highest character. His play on the field speaks for itself. Had WR Pierre Garcon been healthy for the season, the Redskins could have 10 wins already this season. The price Washington paid to move up in the draft was appropriate in order to select him as their quarterback of the future.
Griffin was asked by a reporter from USA Today about African-American quarterbacks and the stereotypes. Griffin responded, “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.” Griffin continued, “I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.” Griffin insists that he simply wants to be judged as a quarterback in the NFL. Period.
I have no problems with those comments. I believe quarterbacks should be judged by their performance on the field, not the color of their skin. Professional athletes should be judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
However, on ESPN, the network I refer to as the East Coast Sports Network, had pundit Rob Parker take an unreasonable shot at the quarterback known as RG III. Parker was a panelist on First Take, a show I never watch, but he made some pretty inflammatory remarks about Griffin, referring to Griffin as a “cornball brother”.
Parker, an African-American, took his opportunity on the air this afternoon to call Griffin “not one of us” and questioned if he was “down with the cause”. He went as far as to to say that he’s engaged to a white woman and there are rumors that he is a Republican. Really? This has any bearing on the football field how?
ESPN has a long history of creating provocative stories, or covering up ones they don’t want to cover (see Brett Favre sending text images of his penis). ESPN not only aired Parker’s comments, the network decided to re-air his comments and bundle them into the show later in the afternoon, Best of First Take. This is the same network that reports in recent weeks have suggested there has been a decided effort to push Tim Tebow stories. The same network that has covered the New York Jets this season as if they are 13-0, and that coverage started in training camp.
Parker’s comments are reprehensible. They are totally out of line. I could care less what color RG III’s skin color is. He could be white, black, purple or pink- he’s one of the most entertaining quarterbacks in the NFL to watch currently. He has been one of the most respectful players in the NFL in pressers, and seems to have his head on straight, something a lot of NFL players could learn from.
Mr. Rob Parker should be dismissed from the ESPN network, but I doubt that will happen. My viewership of the Worldwide leader in sports is going to diminish. Mike and Mike in the morning has turned into a Laurel and Hardy show. They want to create controversy, and there is no such thing as bad press-I’m writing about Parker’s comments this evening.
I wonder if or when Warren Moon will chime in on this situation.