- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 15, 2012

ESPN suspended commentator Rob Parker on Friday for what the network called “inappropriate” comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and race.

Parker, who is black, questioned on air Thursday whether Griffin is “a cornball brother?”

Griffin was not available to reporters Friday. The Redskins declined to comment on the suspension. But Griffin’s father, Robert Griffin Jr., sent The Washington Times a Bible verse via text message.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” he wrote, quoting the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 15. Verse 1.

Parker said of Griffin on-air Thursday: “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. 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.”

Parker cited the fact Griffin is engaged to be married to a white woman.

“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said Wednesday, which prompted Parker’s comments Thursday.

“You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality,” Griffin continued. “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.”

An ESPN reporter followed Griffin’s remarks Wednesday by asking how much he relates to fans to whom race is relevant.

“I am [aware] of how much race is relevant to them,” Griffin said. “I don’t ignore it. I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. I understand that they’re excited that their quarterback is an African-American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart, so I understand that. You know I appreciate them for being fans, and not just fans because I’m African-American.”

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