Rising NFL star Robert Griffin III showed class and maturity this week after being the subject of a racist rant by ESPN analyst Rob Parker.
Parker, also an African American, was on ESPNs First Take show asking, “my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”
Parker continued to question Griffin’s “blackness”, using phrases like “kind of black,” “not really down with the cause” or “not one of us,” through his strange racial rant.
When asked about the evidence of this racial difference that bothered Rob Parker so much, things got even more uncomfortable. Parker states that “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.”
Apparently interracial relationships and Griffin’s political views are an “issue” for Parker, who feels that black men must behave a certain way and must lose their individuality.
Obviously Robert Griffin III would be asked about this disturbing statement by Parker, but the way Griffin handled the question showed that he has far more class than his attacker.
Griffin acknowledged his appreciation for black Washington Redskins fans proud of his transformative debut season — and noted how he hopes to erase lingering stereotypes concerning African-American quarterbacks.
“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said at the end of Wednesday’s post-practice news conference 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.”
The league’s highest-rated passer, who has led the 7-6 Redskins into postseason contention with 10 of his 18 touchdowns thrown during a four-game win streak, said he is aware of why so many black Redskins fans take reflected pride in his success.
“I am aware how much race is relevant to them,” RGIII said. “I don’t ignore it. I try not to be defined by it. But I understand different persectives 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.”