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ESPN suspends Rob Parker for 30 days

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  December 20, 2012 02:32 PM

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Rob Parker has been suspended 30 days by ESPN for his controversial, race-related comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III last week.

Parker, a commentator on ESPN's "First Take" debate program, had been suspended indefinitely since last Friday, a day after he had suggested that Griffin, who like Parker is African-American, was a "cornball brother'' who is "not really down with the cause. He's not one of us.''

His 30-day suspension is retroactive to last Friday. Parker apologized for his comments via Twitter Wednesday: "As I reflect on this and move forward, I will take the time to consider how I can continue to tackle difficult, important topics in a much more thoughtful manner."

ESPN announced the length of his suspension in a statement by vice-president of production Marcia Keegan, who indicated the show will have stricter standards.

"Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made," said Keegan in a statement. "As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part.

"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."

Keegan’s indication that the show will have stricter standards is somewhat encouraging, though such a suggestion also raises an obvious question to anyone who has lingered for more than a wasted second on a Skip Bayless/Parker/Stephen A. Smith “debate’’:

“First Take” had standards in the first place?

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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