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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1233 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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Click on Detroit/Local 4 News

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Zimmerman, 31, staring directly at the camera, talked for 13 minutes in a faux interview conducted by his Tampa divorce lawyer, Howard Iken.

Asked by Iken who he blamed for inflaming racial tensions around his case, Zimmerman didn’t hesitate to name names.

“By far, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama,” Zimmerman said in the March 8 video.

The President’s bias was evident during a Rose Garden press conference when he said, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,” according to Zimmerman.

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“For (Obama) to make incendiary comments as he did and direct the Department of Justice to pursue a baseless prosecution, he by far overstretched, overreached, even broke the law in certain aspects,” the vigilante argued.

The President committed the ultimate sin of trying to prosecute “an innocent American,” Zimmerman insisted.

The President should have said “Let’s not rush to judgment,” he added.

Zimmerman was a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in February 2012 when he shot and killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.

Trayvon’s death sparked national outrage and prompted waves of civil rights protests, plus a debate about Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter in 2013 — and he says that ruling helped him keep his faith that justice can prevail.

“I believe that the American judicial system failed in the sense that I should not even (have) gone to trial, but I do believe that the jury process succeeded,” he said in the video.

Asked if he had a clear conscience, Zimmerman nodded.

“If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,” the President had said during a press conference around the time of the February 2012 shooting.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

“In all fairness, you cannot as a human feel guilty for living, for surviving,” he said, when asked if he wished the encounter with Trayvon turned out differently.

The former wannabe cop was cleared of violating Trayvon’s civil rights by the U.S. Department of Justice last month.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his office found “insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges.”

The 31-year-old’s life has unraveled since his deadly run-in with 17-year-old Trayvon.

Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, filed for divorce two months after his acquittal for the 2012 killing.

He’s been largely unemployed since and gotten into numerous scrapes with the law, most of which have resulted in arrests but no charges.

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Former NFL star Darren Sharper was sentenced to nine years in prison Monday in Arizona after pleading guilty to sexual assault and attempted sexual assault in November 2013, the Maricopa County Attorney's office confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.

Sharper, 39, entered his pleas Monday in Arizona from Los Angeles, where he was expected to appear in court later in the day and enter a guilty plea in connection with two other rape allegations from 2013 and 2014.

The pleas are part of an attempted "global" plea agreement that could resolve all nine rape charges against him in four states. In addition to the charges in California and Arizona, he faces two rape charges in Las Vegas and three in New Orleans, where is expected to enter guilty pleas within the next month.

The sentences will run concurrently in federal prison, said Jerry Cobb of the Maricopa County Attorney's office. Sharper is not eligible for early release in Arizona, but will be credited for time served in Los Angeles, where he has been in jail without bail since Feb. 27, 2014.

By agreeing to the plea deal, Sharper, 39, avoids the risk of receiving an even worse punishment in the future and expensive litigation that could drag on indefinitely in four states. If convicted, he faced life in prison in Louisiana and more than 30 years in Los Angeles.

For prosecutors, the plea deal avoids the risk of going to trial, where juries might be influenced by Sharper's fame and celebrity defense attorneys.

His suspected string of serial rapes ended in January 2014, when he was arrested on a suspicion of rape in Los Angeles. At the time of his first arrest, he had 20 zolpidem pills in his possession – a sleep drug known by its brand name Ambien. Sharper obtained a prescription for the drug after suffering sleep problems he attributed to his 14-year career in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, according to a workers compensation claim form he filed in 2012.

The drug can be slipped into drinks to knock out women and rape them, and that's what authorities say Sharper did time after time, according to court records.

Sharper ultimately was charged with nine rapes in four states, including three in consecutive nights in two different states in January 2014.

None of the cases went to trial or even received an evidentiary hearing except in Arizona, where a judge ruled last April there was "proof evident" Sharper raped a women there in November 2013. DNA found inside the women's body partially matched Sharper's, and a witness reported waking up and seeing Sharper naked and making thrusting movements over the woman, according to a detective's testimony at the hearing.

The detective said the woman hadn't known Sharper before that night and didn't remember what happened to her after consuming a drink Sharper made her. Zolpidem was found in the cup in subsequent tests.

Though Sharper's attorney noted that none of Sharper's sperm was found on the alleged victims in Arizona, the detective said he was told that Sharper had a vasectomy, which could explain the lack of sperm.

The revelation caused a stir that day in Arizona, where Sharper was charged with drugging three women and raping two of them.

In Los Angeles, he was charged with drugging and raping two women – one in October 2013 and one in January 2014. In the first one, Sharper met two women at a club in West Hollywood and later invited them to his hotel room, where he offered them a drink, according to a police report of the incident filed in court.

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A former Alaska TV reporter who quit her job while on live air to advocate for medical marijuana is getting the fight she wanted.

Authorities searched the Alaska Cannabis Club on Friday after receiving multiple reports of illegal sales of pot and other derivatives at the medical marijuana dispensary, the Anchorage Police Department said in a statement. Police did not reveal any other information about the investigation.

The facility is operated by Charlo Greene, a former reporter for KTVA-TV who famously quit her job while on the air in September. She told the audience that she was the secret owner of the facility and wanted to run it full time and to become an activist for the legalization of marijuana.

"Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska," Greene said. "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but, f--- it, I quit."

In November, Alaskan residents passed a referendum allowing for the legalization of marijuana, which went into effect last month.

Residents older than 21 can grow and use the drug, but it still illegal to sell it until the state Legislature sets guidelines for business practices, according to KTUU-TV.

But Greene, who is also known as Charlene Egbe, told her former station her store does not sell any marijuana. Authorities seized drugs and paraphernalia, computer records, bank statements, and two vehicles.

"This is basically a medical marijuana dispensary," Greene said. "We don't sell any recreational marijuana, we don't sell any medical marijuana. This is a place for card holders to come and share their own cannabis."

She posted a defiant message on her Instagram page Saturday night and assured the public the club continued to remain open.

"Today, a day after we were robbed by the Anchorage Police Department at gunpoint, we met with an endless flow of club members that stopped by to simply say, 'You're still here, and so are we,'" she wrote. "I can't tell you all how much this meant to me and my family but know that just trying to express my gratitude right now through text has me in happy tears."

The club will continue to remain resilient, she said.

"THE PEOPLE WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT BEING VICTIMS IN THIS WAR ON DRUGS," she wrote. "WE ARE FREEDOM FIGHTERS AND WE'RE JUST GETTING STARTED, bitch."

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