“Cornball Brothas and Such” by: Cliffvon Howell
On December 12, 2012 ESPN’s First Take contributor Rob Parker opened his mouth in an attempt to introduce race in a conversation intended to test the depth of the Washington Redskins’ rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s Character.
Robert Parker responded to a quote extracted from a post practice QB media session held a day earlier. The dominant conversation of that session was regarding the injury Robert Griffin III (RG3) sustained 3 days earlier against the Baltimore Ravens. At the end of the press conference a journalist announced that his periodical was writing a story celebrating the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King Day and President Obama’s Inauguration were going to take place one day apart.
The report went on to say that Robert Griffin III has re-energized the DC area giving young people a positive role model and providing a positive African American figure in the city that produced the NFL’s first black Superbowl winning quarterback. The reporter asked Robert what it meant to him to be this larger than life figure for African Americans in DC. To that Robert responded “”For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin’ …”You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried 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.” “I am aware how much race is relevant to them;” “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. I understand that. I appreciate them for being fans and not just fans because they’re African-Americans.” (http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...-race/1765701/)
When presented with an abbreviated version of Robert’s response to the columnist a day earlier, ESPN’s Rob Parker indicated that Robert Griffin III’s comment was a demonstration of Robert Griffin III “distancing himself from black people.” Parker would continue with the question “Is he a brotha or a cornball brotha?” At a moment when his tongue was committing career suicide Mr. Parker attempted to substantiate his argument by introducing the fact that Robert Griffin III has a white fiancé and some people that (Parker) knows from the (DC) area told him that Robert Griffin III is a member of the Republican Party. Parker acknowledged that Robert Griffin III wears braids as a hairstyle, but continued to question whether Robert Griffin III is “down for the cause?”