Robert Griffin III is arguably the most popular man in Washington right now. The Redskins’ spectacular rookie quarterback has been winning games, fans, and headlines due to his play this season. Today, he was on the front page of the Washington Post for the third time in a week and a half.
Under increasing media scrutiny, Griffin has been clear he does not want to be defined by his race. In a news conference yesterday cited in USA Today, Griffin, an African-American, said, “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.” He continued, “I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.’’
But columnist and ESPN analyst Rob Parker evidently thinks otherwise. On the network’s First Take show this morning, Parker said, “my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
Parker, a columnist at a handful of outlets over the years, has a history of stirring the pot when it comes to race issues in sports. He teeters back and forth between evaluating how “black” Griffin is – “kind of black,” “not really down with the cause” or “not one of us,” but it’s the evidence that prompted his hand wringing that’s so disturbing. “We all know he has a white fiancé. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue.”
For Parker, having a white fiancé and potentially being a Republican is “an issue.”
Griffin has been clear that he has no interest in being defined by the color of his skin. Parker, it seems, begs to differ.