The Washington Times - December 19, 2012, 03:07PM

ESPN’s Rob Parker on Wednesday issued an apology for his controversial comments about Robert Griffin III and race that drew a suspension from the network.

“I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care,” Parker wrote on Twitter. “This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert’s thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community.

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“The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on First Take, and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one. I regrettably introduced some points that I never should have and I completely understand the strong response to them, including ESPN’s reaction. Perhaps most importantly, the attention my words have brought to one of the best and brightest stars in all of sports is an unintended and troubling result.

“Robert Griffin III is a talented athlete who not only can do great things on the field, but off the field handles himself in a way we are all taught – with dignity, respect and pride. I’ve contacted his agent with hopes of apologizing to Robert directly. As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner.”

Griffin during his weekly media address Dec. 12 was asked about race and said: “You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I strive 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.”

On ESPN’s “First Take” Thursday, Parker called Griffin “a cornball brother.”

“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,” Parker said. “He’s in the book, but he’s not really, like, the guy you really want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.”

ESPN suspended Parker for what it deemed “inappropriate” comments about Griffin.