The Washington Post

RGIII and Rob Parker: NFLPA’s De Smith comments

At a time when starting quarterbacks of color are hardly a rarity in the NFL, racial issues haven’t gone away.

(Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters)

On Thursday, ESPN’s Rob Parker questioned Robert Griffin III’s blackness on “First Take,” prompting DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association to tell the Post in an email:

“Robert can certainly take care of himself. Nonetheless, I hope that our men and for that matter, my own kids, will never beg for authenticity from someone who can only talk about the things that other people have the courage to do. People need to be held accountable for the offensive things that they say.”

It’s been that kind of a season, though. Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers was ripped when, suddenly, a columnist noticed that his arms are covered with tattoos. Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon suggested earlier this season that questions about the attitude of the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton were racially motivated. Newton disagreed, saying, “When it comes to [racism], I don’t think there is any at all.

But the topic still keeps coming up. David Whitley began a Sporting News column this way:

San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big-time NFL quarterback. That must make the guys in San Quentin happy.

Approximately 98.7 percent of the inmates at California’s state prison have tattoos. I don’t know that as fact, but I’ve watched enough “Lockup” to know it’s close to accurate.

Kaepernick’s mom, Teresa, told USA Today that it “annoyed” her.

“You are categorizing this kid on something like tattoos? Really? Saying other guys are role models because they don’t have them? Really?” Teresa Kaepernick said. “Some of these other guys don’t have crystal-clear reputations. That’s how you’re going to define this kid? It’s pretty irritating, but it is what it is.”

It’s also generalizing in a way that really isn’t helpful and makes it seem as if the days of Doug Williams being asked about being a black quarterback really aren’t so far behind us.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.


ESPN spokesman says comments were “inappropriate”

“First Take” transcript | Video

RGIII: Post-racial superstar or The One?

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Cindy Boren · December 14, 2012