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ESPN suspends analyst for 30 days in racial controversy

The SportsXchange

ESPN has suspended analyst Rob Parker for 30 days for questioning the "blackness" of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on ESPN2's "First Take" show last week, the network announced Thursday.

The network said more oversight has been added to the live show and its repeat airings.

"ESPN has decided to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days for his comments made on last Thursday's episode of First Take," ESPN Vice President of Production Marcia Keegan said in a statement. "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."

Parker, who is black, asked of Griffin last Thursday, "Is he a brother or a cornball brother?" He noted that Griffin has a white fiancee and reportedly is a Republican.

When Twitter followers criticized the comments following the show, Parker defended his stance by lashing out at the respondents. However, on Wednesday he apologized on Twitter.

His statement read, in part: "I blew it and I'm sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one."
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