Rob Parker has re-emerged. Not on ESPN, where he still is in the penalty box with a 30-day suspension following his controversial comments about Robert Griffin III.
Rather, Parker did an interview on a local Detroit TV station in which he serves as a contributor. I assume ESPN gave approval for him to do the interview, knowing it quickly would circulate through the blogosphere.
Parker didn’t back away from his First Take comments (video above) about Griffin in which he questioned his “blackness.” Instead, he tried to clarify them.
“It was never to condemn the young man,” Parker said. “RGIII is a great young man. This is a conversation that occurs in the black community when an athlete or famous entertainer pushes away from their people. You saw with O.J. Simpson and some other people where they said ‘Well, I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ So it’s more about that, not about RG3 and what’s going on.
“It’s more about this thing that we’ve battled for years – why people have pushed away from their people. It’s more about that.”
Later Parker said, “I wasn’t saying he wasn’t black enough. When people say that, it’s just not true.”
Parker said the topic came up during a pre-production meeting prior to the show. Reportedly, a producer also was suspended.
“We had a discussion during a pre-production meeting,” Parker said. “Not every single word, but they knew which way we were going. It’s just not off-the-cuff obviously.”
Parker called the reaction to his comments “shocking.” However, he said the firestorm is an example of “how popular First Take is.”
As for the future, Parker said he is not going to shy away from discussing controversial issues.
“You can’t be afraid to talk about race,” Parker said. “That’s what I bring to the table. I don’t want to be a guy who is going to try his back or run away from the issues.”