ESPN Gives Rob Parker 30-Day Suspension After RGIII Racial Comments
ESPN on Thursday announced that it is suspending commentator Rob Parker for 30 days for comments made about Redskins QB Robert Griffin III earlier this month on "First Take." ESPN VP/Production Marcia Keegan in a statement said, "Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. ... To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures" (ESPN). Keegan said that the incident “will not change the direction of the show.” Keegan: "We will continue to discuss the important issues in sports, including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it. However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/21). SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote the decision “comes in the wake of numerous ESPN employees speaking out about being associated with a program they believe is beneath the network.” A former ESPN employee said, "They brought on Rob for a reason -- he is confrontational. That is his style. They want debate and conflict and that can be a good thing, to force people to look at issues and force people to look at things. I know they get hammered a lot for making everything a racial topic, and sometimes it does go too far, but they do a good job of getting debate out there that people are shying away from because it is uncomfortable" (SI.com, 12/20). However, in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes ESPN in the suspension “exposed more holes in how it mishandled the situation rather than trying to immediately fix it” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 12/21).