Most sports fans don’t take the things said on ESPN’s First Take particularly seriously. The show is a joke, and an ideal example of how sports media can go completely off the rails when it starts prioritizing stirring up controversy over legitimate news.
There is nothing wrong with the concept of sports debate shows, mind you. Pardon The Interruption (also an ESPN production) is a perfect example of how good they can be. It tackles real sports news. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. And, most importantly, it doesn’t peddle phony narratives just to create buzz for the hosts.
First Take could learn a thing or two from what Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon do every day.
During today’s episode of First Take, Rob Parker took things to a new low when he decided to question the blackness of Washington Redskins quarterback, Robert Griffin III. As transcribed by USA Today:
Rob Parker: "But my question, which is just a straight, honest question, is: Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?"
Cari Champion: "What does that mean?"
Skip Bayless: "Explain that."
Parker: He's not real. OK, he's black, he kind of does the thing, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black but he's not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else.
Champion: "Why is that your question?"
Parker: "Well because that's just how I want to find out about him. I don't know because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancee. There was all this talk about how he's a Republican, which, I don't really care, there's no information at all. I'm just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue. Because we did find out with Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was like, I've got black skin but don't call me black."
Stephen A. Smith, one of the show’s other notable trolls, was noticeably bothered by what Parker said.
"I'm uncomfortable with where we just went," he said. "RGIII, the ethnicity or the color of his fiancee is none of our business, it's irrelevant, he can live his life in whatever way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that's his business, that's his life, he can live his life."
It’s disturbing how low First Take hosts are willing to go just to earn a bit of extra notoriety. Parker has long since been recognized as a moron for his ridiculous hatred of baseball statistics and those who analyze them – but at least that brand of ignorance wasn’t mean-spirited. This clearly is.
Hopefully ESPN will step up and do what’s right with this loser.
(Kudos USA Today)