An episode of ESPN’s First Take got racially awkward after reporter Rob Parker called out an NFL player for having a white fiancée.
Parker pulled Washington Washington Football Team rookie Robert Griffin III’s race card all because of his significant other’s skin color. “Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker asked.
“I keep hearing these things. We all known he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican.”
Stephen A. Smith—who has drawn criticism for his own comments—stepped in to try and extinguish the madness. “I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” he said. “RGIII, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancée is none of our business, it’s irrelevant, he can live his life in whatever way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life, he can live his life.”
Skip Bayless also jumped in, asking Parker to explain his silly theory. “ He’s not real,” Parker continued. “OK, 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 but he’s not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.”
“I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue,” he added. “Because we did find out with Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was like, I’ve got Black skin but don’t call me Black.”
ESPN issued a statement regarding Parker’s comments: “The comments were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps.”
This isn’t the first time that Griffin has been the focus of racial banter on First Take. Over the summer, Bayless hypothesized that the 22-year-old lacked fan support because he’s Black.