Rob Parker, the ESPN First Take analyst who couldn’t refrain from putting his foot in his mouth, is apparently no longer with ESPN. John Ourand is reporting that ESPN decided not to renew Parker’s contract, in light of his recent comments about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
ESPN: “Evaluating our needs and [Rob Parker’s] work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew his deal.”
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 8, 2013
Parker landed in hot water with ESPN executives in December after he launched into a tirade about RGIII, both questioning the rookie quarterback’s “blackness”, and suggesting he might be a “cornball brother”. Parker, who was set to help lead a weekend version of First Take (because lord knows we all needed that in our lives), was suspended by ESPN over the remarks.
A recent appearance on a local Detroit television show, where Parker doubled down on the idea of his original comments, was probably the final straw:
I mean looking back on some of the comments I can see where people can take it out of context and run with it. But the response and what happened over the past 30 days with everything was just shocking…As you look back now, if I could have stopped all of this—it was never meant to condemn the young man. RG III is a great young man with a bright future. It was more about concerns, not condemning him.
Well, that, and the part where he threw his producers under the bus:
I mean, we had a discussion inside a pre-production meeting. And not every single word but they knew which way we were going. I think, it’s not just off the cuff, obviously.
UPDATE: official statement from ESPN:
Rob Parker’s contract expired at year’s end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RG III comments, we decided not to renew his deal.