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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1165 0


Robert Griffin III has been asked about his race repeatedly this season. He has not, to my knowledge, ever brought the subject up himself. Every time he’s been asked about it, he has managed to appear thoughtful and considerate without possibly offending anyone.

I’m not sure he’s ever handled the race question better than on last week’s Comcast SportsNet special, when Chick Hernandez talked about being a black quarterback in D.C.

“Whenever you can relate to the population of the team that you play for, I think it makes it that much more special,” Griffin said. “I don’t play too much into the color game, because I don’t want to be the best African American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback.

“But to the fans, and to the fans who think that way and look at me as an African American, it’s important that I succeed, not only for this team, but for them,” he continued. “Because it gives them that motivation, that hey, you know, an African American went out and played quarterback for my Washington Redskins. So I appreciate that; I don’t ever downplay anything like that. Whoever I can go out every week and motivate to do better and to try to go after their dreams, I’m up for that.”

Again, I don’t know how he could possibly have handled that issue — which he did not raise himself — any better.

But people keep asking. The rookie was asked about race yet again on Wednesday, this time by an ESPN reporter. He delivered a similar answer. It was an answer that showed he’s actually thought about the issue, but it was steadfastly non-controversial.

“I am [aware] of how race is relevant to [some fans]. I don’t ignore it,” Griffin said Wednesday. “I try not to be defined by it, but I understand different perspectives and how people view different things. So I understand they’re excited their quarterback is an African American. I play with a lot of pride, a lot of character, a lot of heart. So I understand that, and I appreciate them for being fans.”

Well. This led to a Thursday discussion on First Take, ESPN’s abysmal debate program. Panelist Rob Parker was asked, ‘What does this say about RGIII?”

“This is an interesting topic,” Parker said. “For me, personally, just me, this throws up a red flag, what I keep hearing. And I don’t know who’s asking the questions, but we’ve heard a couple of times now of a black guy kind of distancing himself away from black people.

“I understand the whole story of I just want to be the best,” Parker continued. “Nobody’s out on the field saying to themselves, I want to be the best black quarterback. You’re just playing football, right? You want to be the best, you want to throw the most touchdowns and have the most yards and win the most games. Nobody is [thinking] that.

“But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him,” Parker went on. “And I’ve talked to some people down in Washington D.C., friends of mine, who are around and at some of the press conferences, people I’ve known for a long time. But my question, which is just a straight honest question. Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

What does that mean, Parker was asked.

“Well, [that] he’s black, he kind of does his thing, but he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us,” Parker explained. “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else.”

Why is that your question, Parker was asked.

“Well, because I want to find out about him,” Parker said. “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 [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to 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. So people got to wondering about Tiger Woods early on.”

Then Skip Bayless asked Parker about RGIII’s braids.

“Now that’s different,” Parker said. “To me, that’s very urban and makes you feel like…wearing braids, you’re a brother. You’re a brother if you’ve got braids on.”

Then Stephen A. Smith was asked for his take. He exhaled deeply.

“Well first of all let me say this: I’m uncomfortable with where we just went,” Smith said. “RGIII, the ethnicity, the color of his fiancée is none of our business. It’s irrelevant. He can live his life any way he chooses. The braids that he has in his hair, that’s his business, that’s his life. I don’t judge someone’s blackness based on those kind of things. I just don’t do that. I’m not that kind of guy.

“What I would say to you is that the comments he made are fairly predictable,” Smith went on. “I think it’s something that he may feel, but it’s also a concerted effort to appease the masses to some degree, which I’m finding relatively irritating, because I don’t believe that the black athlete has any responsibility whatsoever to have to do such things.

“Let me say this clearly. I don’t know of anybody who goes into something trying to be the best black anything. We understand that. That’s a given,” Smith said. “But I do think it’s important to acknowledge a level of pride and a feeling of a level of accomplishment for being somebody who happens to be of African American descent, who competes and achieves and accomplishes things on the highest level while also bringing attention – to some degree anyhow – to the pride that they feel being black. Because they’re allowing themselves to be a reminder to those who preceded them, who worked so hard, accomplished and achieved so much, but were denied the accolades that that individual is receiving.”

Later, Parker was given an opportunity to clarify whether he was judging Griffin’s blackness.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “We could sit here and be honest, or we can be dishonest. And you can’t tell me that people in the barbershops or people that talk, they look at who your spouse is. They do. And they look at how you present yourself. People will say all the time, you’re not gonna get a job in corporate America wearing those braids. It happens all the time. Let’s not act like it doesn’t, because it does.”

The only conclusion I’m willing to make about all of this is that the show would have been much more thoughtful had Griffin been on the panel. Or had he replaced the panel.


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Some city leaders, like Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, prefer a wider probe of the Baltimore Police Department.

The Department of Justice says it developed the collaborative reform in 2011 as an independent and objective way to transform a law enforcement agency through an analysis of policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement today.

The coming review in Baltimore is similar to ongoing probes in Philadelphia and Spokane, Wash., that are focusing on police shootings and other issues.

The goal is to help change the ways that law enforcement agencies build community partnerships and enhance transparency; transform agencies through decision making and policies; and institutionalize reforms with integrated accountability measures, officials say.

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Kasey Nesbitt, 35, sits behind bars, held on $250,000 on a slew of charges stemming from the disturbing assault.

The alleged gang member burst through the elderly woman’s backdoor sometime last Sept. 29 or early Sept. 30 and sexually assaulted her, police said. The woman, described by police as very strong and brave, eventually was able to flee her own home around 7 a.m. on the 30th and get help from a neighbor, who called cops.

"All rapes are a deplorable crime but when you look at the age of the victim, it becomes a little bit more concerning, a little bit more disturbing," Wichita Police Captain Troy Livingston told KAKE-TV. "It's a vile crime, and the fact that somebody victimized a 100-year-old female is a little bit harder for the detectives to really grasp."

The disturbing crime shocked the small neighborhood. Nesbitt, who has been in and out of jail since 2000 on burglary and theft charges and was last released in January 2012, is next due in court Oct. 29.

The woman, who helped lead officers to the suspect, is reportedly doing better and being cared for by her family.

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William Bailey of Grand Rapids, has been charged with forcing his cousin into a dog cage and throwing hot wax on him in the victim’s apartment last month, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bailey, 27, punched his 47-year-old relative, threw him into a dog cage and poured hot wax on him while he stayed in the cousin’s Des Plaines, Ill., apartment Sept. 30, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

Bailey didn’t stop there — he also burned his cousin with a cigarette lighter.

The victim, who has not been identified, managed to flee to the home of a neighbor, who called police, the sheriff’s office said. He was transported to a hospital.

Bailey also escaped — in his cousin’s 1992 Toyota Camry but was caught Sunday in Berrien County, Mich., and arrested on a $500,000 warrant for aggravated domestic battery.

He is currently in custody at the Berrien County Jail pending extradition to Illinois, according to the sheriff’s office.

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AP Oct-16-2014 370 0
A minister who confessed to having sex with church members and neglecting to tell them he had AIDS was temporarily banned from acting as pastor on Thursday.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price issued a preliminary injunction, as sought by deacons and trustees of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Price ruled that the Rev. Juan McFarland, 47, must turn in his church keys and his church Mercedes vehicle and then stay away from the church he led for 24 years.

Church members hugged and prayed after the ruling. “Now we’ve got the church back, and the healing can begin,” said Lois Caffey, a member for 21 years.

The judge scheduled a hearing Dec. 1 to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction.

Lee Sanford, chairman of the board of trustees, said the challenge now is to reunite the 170 active members of the congregation. “I’m confident with God’s help we will be able to do that,” he said.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit said that the congregation voted to fire McFarland after his confessions but that he refused to leave and changed the church’s locks and control of church bank accounts.

McFarland said nothing inside or outside the courtroom Thursday during two hearings. He attended without an attorney.

The boards of deacons and trustees sued both McFarland and church parliamentarian Marc Anthoni Peacock, who was involved in changing the locks and bank accounts. Peacock resigned from the church after testifying in court Thursday and was dropped from the suit.

One of the plaintiffs, Deacon Nathan Williams Jr., said church leaders had no suspicions about McFarland until he delivered sermons in in August and September, during which he confessed to having sex with church members in the church building, but not in the sanctuary; having AIDS but not telling sex partners; and using illegal drugs. Williams and Sanford said McFarland told the congregation that God directed him to make a public confession.


Williams testified that the congregation first tried to help the pastor but that when it didn’t work, members took a vote during a service Oct. 5 to fire him.

Parliamentarian Marc Anthoni Peacock testified that the meeting wasn’t officially called as part of the Sunday service and described it as “holy hell.” Peacock was originally a defendant in the lawsuit but resigned from the church Thursday and was dropped from the litigation.

Price said the courts have no role in religious matters, but they sometimes have to step in when congregations can’t settle their differences over control of buildings and money. “If it could be resolved in the church, it would have been already,” the judge told the courtroom packed, with more than 100 people.

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church is more than 90 years old and is part of the National Baptist Convention. Church members on both sides of the pastoral dispute said the convention gives churches autonomy in personnel decisions.

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