Stephen A. Smith has been known to stir the pot on ESPN’s First Take, but even he was thrown off by Rob Parker‘s comments regarding Robert Griffin III on Thursday.
Parker raised some eyebrows by basically questioning how black the Redskins quarterback is. The controversial comments came on the heels of RG3 simply stating that he doesn’t want to be defined by the color of his skin.
“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin told reporters after Wednesday’s practice in reference to a question about Martin Luther King, Jr. “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.”
Parker, who is also black, wasn’t sure what to make of RG3’s comments, so he instead went down a path that made the entire First Take panel rather uncomfortable.
“But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him,” Parker said. “And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?
“Well, [that] he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us,'” Parker continued. “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else.”
When asked why this is a question for Parker, the ESPN analyst pointed to RG3’s white fiancee and rumors about the quarterback being Republican, while also noting Tiger Woods‘ insistence on not being called black. Parker explained that he wants to find out more about RG3, and “dig deeper as to why he has an issue.”
Smith, who always speaks his mind (which sometimes lands him in hot water), didn’t want to go there. Instead, when asked for his take, he made his discomfort known.
“Well first of all let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said. “RG3, the ethnicity, the color of his fiancee is none of our business. It’s irrelevant. He can live his life any way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kind of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.”
Parker has since received plenty of backlash, both on Twitter and via the media. Check out his comments in the video below.