First Take update

Marcia Keegan is a Vice President of Production for ESPN, who oversees First Take:

“ESPN has decided to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days for his comments made on last Thursday’s episode of First Take. Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part.

“To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures. We will continue to discuss important issues in sports on First Take, including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it on First Take. However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better.”


  1. If only Rob Parker’s “apology” was half as sincere as yours tries to be, perhaps I could support him remaining on the air. His comments were probably far worst than Limbaugh’s and others you have dismissed. The real problem is that Parker does not understand and therefore still in adequately describes the “issue”. One that frankly only exists in the minds of those, like Parker, who hold racial prejudice against their own race.

  2. I am sorry he should be fired period. His comments were racist and protracted. As he thought his way through the conversation he clearly established he was racist and could never present the conversation or the apology in any manner that would show a neutral non racist conversation. Poor Jimmy Greek was fired instantaneously for use of a word ALL I repeat all your analysts use now daily “freakish” “freak of nature” Clearly ESPN would not know racist from a non racist

  3. And Bretos accidentally using a word that turned out to also be a racial slur earned the same suspension?

    Just end the suspension, ESPN. You very obviously WANT this type of discourse on your show. You’re not fooling anyone.

  4. As ProFootballtalk put it..

    Think about what ESPN is doing by giving Parker and Bretos equivalent punishments. ESPN is saying that opposing interracial marriage is no worse than making an unfortunate slip of the tongue. ESPN is saying that Parker, who worked his way up to a job at ESPN by doing everything the wrong way in journalism, deserves no more punishment for a blatantly racist statement than Bretos, who worked his way up to a job at ESPN by being a consummate professional, deserves for an innocent mistake. (It’s also worth noting that when Bretos was alerted to the fact that some people were offended by his word choice, he profusely apologized. When people told Parker on Twitter that they were offended by his racist comments about Griffin, Parker told those people they were “uneducated” and “silly.”)

    Ridiculous but typical.

  5. I can’t believe Rob Parker is still going to have a job at ESPN after saying what he said. Clearly the network is more concerned about drawing ratings from inflammatory remarks from ignorant, attention craving fools than holding their employees to a level of integrity any real sports journalist should be held to.

  6. Rob Parker went to far. Actually he went over the falls with those comments about Robert Griffin III. I understand that RGIII is a public figure and is subject to all forms of scrutiny but the ignorance of Parker is not just indicting RGIII, not just athletes of colour but the very organization that he represents. If RGIII is suspect because of his personal life what is President Obama? For that matter what am I. I am a West African card carrying Republican with a white wife, Brooks Brothers suits and a taste for Earl Grey tea and French novels. Rob Parker should be dismissed from his position because his behavior and opinions are patently racist. With his attitude he should question his own identity. Racism has no place in sports and I wish it could be evicted from our society. Mr. Parker…wake up, BROTHER! Ignorance is not bliss.

  7. You have got to be kidding. His comments were as racist as they come. And you are NOT firing him? That’s disgusting.

  8. The fact is Rob Parker’s comments were offensive and completely ignorant. The same penalty was given to Max Bretos for accidentally using a Chinese slur which, unfortunate for him, is part of the commonly used phrase, “Chink in the armor”. In addition, Rush Limbaugh “resigned” for stating a comment about Donovan McNabb which, in my opinion, was nowhere as bad as Rob Parker’s comment about RGIII and his fiancee.

    I will call it as I see it. Rob Parker insulted a white female and an African American male, and received a 30-day suspension. Rush Limbaugh criticized a African American male, and “resigned”. A double standard seems to exist at ESPN. The credibility of “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” is fading. ESPN should take serious steps in defending their self-appointed title; otherwise, people will start looking elsewhere for sports news.

  9. What a sham. ESPN should be ashamed. Parker’s online conduct in the hours and days immediately following his horrifying comments made clear he regretted only not saying more about his twisted views on race. Has anybody at the network actually LOOKED at his Twitter account???? Pathetic. This non-apology makes clear he did not regret bashing a good man, only the particular words he used. Disgusting. In the end, ESPN condones racism.

  10. Absolutely pathetic, this guy needs to be fired. He got the same punishment that Max Bretos got for saying “If there’s a chink in the armor, where can (Jeremy) Lin improve his game?” Bretos didn’t mean anything racist at all by it (he has an Asian wife, and chink in the armor is a pretty common saying) and profusely apologized as soon as he realized that people where upset about what he said. Not the best choice of words, but Bretos meant nothing by it. Parker called the people who where offended by him “uneducated” and “silly”. He deliberately attacked RG3 just because he has a white wife. Racism goes both ways, and Rob Parker is the definition of a racist.

  11. Terrible decision. The double standard at ESPN has cost them another viewer. ESPN continues to sink lower and lower. I’m done and I know more will follow me.

  12. Rob Parker should not be afforded by ESPN, a public forum to dsiplay such disgusting comments. His comments belong on a show or webpage that looks at the roots of racism in America. Bottomline he should not be allowed to come back to ESPN.

  13. I am sorry that this is the final decision from ESPN. I watch first take daily, when I get home from work with my two children. But no longer will record or watch it.

    I should not have to explain to my young 6 & 8 year old sons that the words they hear in this show are offensive, racist, and not appropriate to repeat, and that just because someone has a different color skin does not mean you can not date or be their friends.

    I am raising my sons to look beyond skin color, it is shameful that ESPN supports anyone who believes that race, sex or religion can make another person lesser or unequal.

  14. Marcia & ESPN,
    I do not understand why you would continue to employ a person who made these statements on First Take. Shame on you. VERY POOR JUDGMENT on your part. You’ve missed a golden opportunity to show intolerance for racial bigotry.

  15. I’m not even remotely surprised at this decision by ESPN management. This furthers the impression that double-standards exist, because a white panelist would have been fired before you folks broke for commercial. Another fumble by ESPN management. You folks should be ashamed of yourselves.

  16. Marcia Keegan, ESPN:
    I am deeply troubled by the decision to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days instead of firing him from the show/network. His comments about Robert Griffin III were beyond offensive. There is no place in sports, or sports broadcasting, for racial hate speech. Had these comments been made by a non black commentator the result would have been a swift termination. It is sad that a network like ESPN would end a relationship with Hank Williams Jr over comments about President Obama but will allow Rob Parker to keep working after spewing racial hatred. At least now everyone knows where ESPN stands, and quite frankly it stinks.

  17. It would be an unconscionable act on ESPN’S part if this ingoramous of man was ever allowed to spew his swill on a public airway ever again!

  18. Seriously, one month? One month without pay? ESPIN should be ashamed but is not. This minimal action as much condones his activity. If he were white, he would have been not just shown the door, but thrown out. ESPIN staff who commented, were not shown on ESPIN. Those comments reflect the internal disdain for ESPIN actions and decisions. Probably should listen to your employees.

    Moreover, RGIII is a great role model for ALL people of ALL races. You are your own worst enemy.

  19. Yet another First Take clown getting a free ride is shockingNot really. I mean, Rob Parker
    Is constantly using race as a talking point. But, should he be fired, like all the wing nuts
    Lusting to avenge Rush. Limbaugh want? Not really, but he should get some counseling. The guy
    Has a lot of issues he needs worked out, IMHO.

  20. Have read all comments before mine… don’t think a single one is supporting the rascist and clearly ignorant comments of Parker…yet you have not fired him. Could it be??? that ESPN management condones this — at first I could not agree with my husband when he said… Parker just read the monitor(comments) that were fed to him by management…it is all about the ratings and the controversy? If ESPN is behind this then …. wow …. I don’t even know what to say.

  21. The comment that I found unforgivable was not the ones concerning RG3 but Tiger Woods. How he got rid of all his Tiger Woods items because Woods was not black enough. Those are the words of a bigot. Period. What if a white person said that he was voting for Peyton over AP for MVP because Manning was white?

  22. I was an ESPN Insider for over 5 years. The day Rob Parker made these comments and was not fired ON THE SPOT, I cancelled my subscription. I will not watch ESPN, subscribe to their Insider feed, or otherwise support their racist bigots. As an Air Force Captain with 21 years active, Mr. Parker’s comments perpetuate exactly the type of bigotry that would not be tolerated in a military unit. The more racists like Parker are given a platform to spew their filth, the further from becoming a united country America will remain.

    I never disagreed with the removal of Rush Limbaugh; his comments were also inappropriate. In my opinion, Rob Parker’s were much worse. I am done with ESPN. I will also be voicing my complaint with your parent company Disney. I hope continuing to employ a racist bigot was worth my business.

  23. Strike 1 was Parker’s rant.
    Strike 2 was Parker’s so-called apology.
    Strike 3 was your delayed & unacceptable punishment.

  24. Mr. Parker’s comments were inappropriate. For the sake of glibness he insulted an outstanding athlete and citizen. He insulted an entire race and philosophy. And his “apology” felt and sounded insincere.

    This kind of hate has no place on any network. As long as he is employed by ESPN I will not watch any programming on your network and will encourage everyone I associate with to do likewise.

    If I or any other white person has displayed this kind of open and hateful prejudice we would have been (properly so) vilified. Do the right thing, release Mr. Parker from his employment with ESPN.

  25. 30 days? Really? Should have fired him. If he had been a white guy and made those statements, no doubt he would have been fired. Lost any respect I had left for ESPN and will no longer visit or participate.

  26. Race baiting is doing more to ruin this country than anyone wants to admit. Giving this man the opportunity to continue working at ESPN shows a lack of respect for the men and women that you cover on a daily basis. And who wouldn’t want a vacation at Christmas!

  27. I’m an African American male and it is appalling to me that some African American people believe that to be an African American you must act and talk a certain type of “Urban Behavior”. R.G.III is an intelligent well-rounded person. His talents on the football field will never over shadow his wonderful character as a man. More people in general of all races can learn a lot from this young man’s character. He’s very positive, intelligent, and one of the most Dynamic players we’ve seen in YEARS! Rob Parker should personally apologize to RGIII and get to know this wonderful young man personally before he doesn’t fit his prototype “African American”!!!!

  28. I believe many white people are taking this opportunity to utilize the “reverse race card”! I don’t believe they’re that concern about the comments Rob Parker made about Robert Griffin the 3rd at all they just want a black person to be punished for using so type of racial inhumanity because they believe us white people are always held to the highest standards of censorship when it comes to racial comments especially about black people. I don’t know much about Robert Griffin or Rob Parker except that they’re both black men. I remember the Jimmy the Greek incident really well and even though Jimmy the Greek didn’t believe he was being offensive because that type of talk was always accepted until that incident. In the past white commentators consistently used racial slurs and comments to describe black athletes. Jimmy the Greek incident was the first to be brought to light and white people have been waiting for their chance to return the favor.

  29. While I sit here and view my original post, I am struck by the irony that my comments need to be moderated, while Mr. Parker’s racist comments will be allowed to be broadcast without review.

  30. Rob Parker is a BIGOT! ESPN’s response to his statements is inadequate! Rob Parker should have been held accountable! Only wish Robert Griffin III called Rob Parker out…. But RGIII won’t dignify such bigotry with a response.

  31. The fact that you have not PERMANENTLY dismissed this man Rob Parker, which clearly is what should have happened, speaks now about you in addition to he. You are now are the official ‘facilitator’ for this kind of race-baiting nonsense that has no part and does no good for any of your viewers. Shame on ESPN and I am done with you!

  32. This double standard is disgusting. You fire a man over less provocative comments not evidencing personal bigotry but commenting on a perceived media bias, and then don’t fire a man over personal bigotry at its worst? First, you are tacitly espousing the view that bigotry by a person of color is somehow less offensive, even if more blatant and outrageous, and thus the double standard. Second, and although less obvious just as equally disturbing, is the fact that these comments were not run just once but purposely run again and included on a “best of” show evidencing the institutional backing of a blatant attack on a fine young man who is apparently not “with the cause.” I am done watching ESPN.

  33. Being that ESPN has decided to make the Double-Standard part of its programming and doesn’t have the guts to FIRE a blatant Racist like Rob Parker…. I will no longer ever watch First Take again! I will also let the advertisers of this show know my feelings as well!


  34. It seems ESPN has no interest in doing the right thing here. Shock journalism is clearly the agenda. Not only racism by parker but unprofessionalism by ESPN. If ESPN will only give him a slap on the wrist I will take the next step and begin a letter writing campaign to first takes sponsors. Hopefully it will cost you some money and then you will be forced to do the right thing.

  35. I can’t decide what is more offensive, his racist commentary against interacial marraige and what “real” black men should think, his half witted NON apology on twitter or you anemic response to racism. I will no longer watch nor allow my family to watch, any more than I allow them to watch Rush Limbaugh. This was incredibly gutless on ESPN’s part. And no, the hub bub and outrage are not going to go away.


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