On ESPN Thursday, black commentator Rob Parker called NFL rookie star and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III a “cornball brother,” apparently because Griffin’s a black man with a white girlfriend. Also he might be a Republican.

So that happened. He said:

But my question, which is just a straight honest question, is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother? ... He’s not really, he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one with us, he’s kind of black, but he’s not really like the guy you want to hang out because he’s off to something else ...

I don’t know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée, there was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which there’s no information at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.

Parker also commented on RGIII’s braids, which add a check to the “authentic black person” column in Parker’s mind. “You’re a brother if you've got braids on,” he said.

It’s always so hard when people don’t fit into the little boxes we try to put them into, isn't it? Heaven forbid that a braid-wearing African-American NFL star love a woman for something other than the color of her skin or have his own political views.

How is this helpful to race relations? Denying someone their heritage because they happen to make different lifestyle choices than what the majority of their culture make? Yeah, that’s acceptance. If by acceptance you mean rejection.

The round table discussion was spurred by RGIII’s comments: “For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. 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.”

He sounds like a good kid. I hope he doesn't let the haters get him down because he has a great opportunity to be a role model for a lot of kids out there -- the black ones, the white ones, and all those shade in between.

What do you think; should racial politics have any role in sports?

 

Image via darastar/Flickr