ESPN Panel Explores Robert Griffin’s Blackness and Whether He Is A “Cornball Brother”

rob-parker250px-Rg3_redskinsCable programming today often seems to cater to race-baiting or race-loaded interviews from the left. Whether it is Toure challenging the ability of white journalists to understand the Martin murder or anchors questioning the “blackness” of African-American Republicans, it has become weirdly acceptable to discuss the “blackness” of celebrities. Now ESPN allowed a panelist to explore the blackness of Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III with columnist and ESPN analyst Rob Parker insisting, “my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker then brought up that Griffin has a white fiancée and could be a Republican as raising such troubling questions of blackness. The anchor then followed up with another African American panelist who wisely demurred at the question.

While I am a Bears fan, I have a great deal of respect for Robert Griffin III. That respect goes beyond is amazing athletic abilities. I have a number of friends who have run into Griffin with their kids. On every occasion, Griffin was an incredible gentleman and role model. In one case, my friend and her young son were at a swimming pool at a hotel when Griffin and his fiancée appeared. Griffin proceeded to spend 15 minutes throwing a ball with her son who was about to burst with excitement. He is, to put it simply, clearly a good man and not just a great football player.

Parker was entirely comfortable holding forth on what constitutes genuine blackness. He explains that “I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican.”here is the exchange:

Rob Parker: “But my question, which is just a straight, honest question, is: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?”

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 fiancée. 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.”

While ESPN deals with the backlash and expresses concern, this is a problem across the cable news system where networks routinely get a “black perspective” from commentators and reporters who raise “questions” about the blackness of celebrities and politicians.

In this case, Parker’s concern is heightened by the race of Griffin’s fiancée and that fact that he might be a Republican while adding that of course “there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue.” The “issue” appears to be a black man who would vote Republican.

Source: USA Today

34 thoughts on “ESPN Panel Explores Robert Griffin’s Blackness and Whether He Is A “Cornball Brother””

  1. What would people say if Griffin was Jewish and belonged to the Nazis party? Everyone knows that “Republican” is a euphemism for something much worse. Which party is known for racism, sexism, and homophobia? White people are not qualified to speak about black self hatred. Ultimately they are responsible for it. Generally speaking, there are few better examples of this self hatred than the tendency of successful black men to marry white women. Face it! The average black woman is considered unattractive. Nobody wants them. So, generally speaking, the movement of successful black men toward white women is sociologically significant. It should not be trivialized as simply “people meeting people”. Everybody knows it. So lets stop lying about it.

  2. Lincoln was a Republican. Pop Sanford was from Saint Louis. Sammy Davis Jr. sucked up to Nixon. Some guy in Florida named West is a Republican and he dont eat no corndogs. If you are Brown like the guy complaining about the football guy then how can you complain about him not being black? Brown is not black. Not black like me. Never call a black labrador a Republican. Never call a Golden Retriever a Democrat. What is wrong with these people on ESPN? I will eat a corndog in a New York minute. Hold the pickels.

  3. Rachel’s comment, by far, was the most intelligent.

    Eric: In my opinion, the only reason race and sex play such a harsh and divisive roll in the American culture is pure politics…I.e. smart blacks and smart women are democrats because those evil republicans hate both groups. Well, who wouldn’t want to be considered smart. Divisiveness at its best. Hate at its strongest. The majority of comments on this blog are proof of that.

  4. bettycath – I am not sure if they had a slave economy inside the country or not. However, they certainly were the originators slave trade with Africa. In any case, it was years and generations ago. What value is there to anybody in continuing to focus on past events?

    One of my favorite quotes ever came from Oprah: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”

    So simple. No matter what has been done to you, it can’t be changed now — and “Now” is all we have.

  5. Eric, The Netherlands and the UK were heavily involved in the slave trade as just another commodity, but did they have an actual slave economy within the country, that is, did they have slaves growing their crops or building their buildings? Did a significant part the general population have daily contact with people that they considered chattel?

  6. Why is it that it is okay to expect someone, based on the color of their skin, to vote a certain way or to choose a partner with the same skin color? What the hell difference does it make? I grew up in Canada and I have traveled extensively since childhood.

    It really did shock me when I moved here to see how much emphasis is still placed on race, gender, etc. here. Much of the world has already moved beyond this. Black people (which is still okay to say in Canada because it is simply descriptive) were not seen as a separate group when I was growing up. They were simply folks with darker skin. They were friends with whichever groups they wanted, dated who they wanted — we really didn’t see them as any different.

    How is it possible to see someone differently because their skin has a darker or lighter tone than yours? This is not the only country that had slavery in the past. In the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, two countries deeply involved in the slave trade, there are few, if any, remnants of this type of separate thinking.

    Why does this focus on race pervade the United States so deeply?

  7. “The ‘issue’ appears to be a black man who would vote Republican.”

    I disagree. The “issue” is why is this stupid question, “Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?” even being asked.

  8. “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.”

    One of the things that angers me to the core is the stupidity of the proposition that all Black people are either alike, or are unable to communicate on a par with Whites. My entire work life was spent either working for, working with and working in authority over Black people. Guess what they are no damn different that anyone else, with the exception of some non-essential cultural baggage, that is no different from the baggage I carry proudly being a Jew. It further enrages me when I see Black conversation portrayed in the media as if it differs considerably from the level of White conversation Very few of the Black people I’ve dealt with (and I’ve dealt with in the thousands) ever talk like Black people are portrayed to talk, in the media and the movies. I remember a supposedly well meaning movie from the 80’s called “Colors” with Sean Penn that was supposed to honestly portray Los Angeles Street gangs with sympathy. I was aghast at the stereotypes
    of how the Black people in the movie communicated and how they were supposed to act. Were all the Black people I knew just playing with my white head, I think not.

    Now to Mr. Parker. Unfortunately, the Sports media like ESP expects certain stereotypical means of expression by their Black commentators and so they get it. Also these commentators, earning good wages,seem to feel a need to re-affirm their Blackness, which is nonsensical but I guess needed in these still racially conflicted times.

    Having been a football fan and having been around for awhile there is also some historical context that should be added. While the FL has been well-integrated since the early 50’s for many years it was accepted by the football “wisemen” that a Black man didn’t have the intelligence to bee a football quarterback. Black quarterbacks would be drafted out of college and see themselves switched to other positions. Most would go along with that feeling no choice, others like Warren Moon would go to the Canadian Football League and win championships there only to return to the NFL and gain stardom at a later age. Even then though they would be granted reluctant kudo’s by extolling their “athleticism” rather than their intelligence, since after all they were Black and couldn’t succeed because of intelligence.

    The other factor that added to the initial NFL refusal to utilize black quarterbacks were that many of them had a running game in addition to their passing. The stereotypical FL quarterback for the establishment was a drop back passer in the mold of Johnny Unitas. This is the blindness and stupidity of all sports establishments in that they abjure innovation. Fran Tarkenton and Archie Manning were great quarterbacks, especially for their “scrambling” ability, however, they didn’t play for exceptional teams and were criticized for the very ability that made them great. Finally the FL has changed in their opinions as to the abilities not only of Black Quarterbacks, but also of Quarterbacks who have great running ability.
    I love football, but hate the Neanderthal sensibilities of some of its experts.

    Let us look at the comparables, as they say in real estate. Drafted before Griffin was Andrew Luck and like Griffin he is a tremendous talent that has made his team better. They are rather comparable in all-around ability and Luck to is a great runner. The press on Luck though downplays his running and concentrates on his passing ability. With RG3, however, there is constant worrying about whether he is running too much, rather than comment on the fact that Griffin’s
    passer rating is much higher than Lucks.

    I’ve watched bot RG# and Luck now in a few games and my judgment is that RG3 is a somewhat better quarterback, but Luck certainly isn’t far behind. The “inside” feeling of the Football punditry is that Luck will be more successful because RG3 will get injured too much, I wonder why since both tend to run a lot? Both young men’s public persona are excellent and I would take either on my team, but prefer RG3. The examination of his “Blackness” is nonsensical and stupid. Then again haven’t we been questioning the nationality of our President for quite some time now?

  9. mahtso,
    I cannot speak for all Scotsmen, but I know our Clan Chieftain is a liberal of the first order. Environmentalist and educator, he talked about running for the Scottish parliament on a liberal platform. He is not too thrilled about either party in the US, and BTW, he has a master’s degree in political science from a top tier US university, so he is quite familiar with US politics.

  10. “I think the issue should be why a sane and honorable person would vote Republican these days.”

    This makes me wonder how the Scotsmen are voting.

  11. And there are a lot of people who disagree with the Democrat ideology, even women and minorities. Who cares who he votes for???? This is America right? I thought anyone could vote for whoever they want no matter their race. He is a football player, who doesn’t want people associating everything back to his race.

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