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Rob Parker on RGIII’s blackness
Dec-13-2012 1473 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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A telephone message from The Associated Press left for Kolwe was not immediately returned.

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the practice of considering race in college admissions, rejecting a white woman's challenge to a University of Texas affirmative action program designed to boost the enrollment of minority students.

The court, in a 4-3 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, decided in favor of the university in turning aside the conservative challenge to the policy, meaning a 2014 appeals court ruling that backed the admissions program was left intact.

The Supreme Court was weighing for the second time a challenge to the admissions system used by the University of Texas at Austin brought by Abigail Fisher, who was denied entry to the school for the autumn of 2008.

Affirmative action is a policy under which racial minorities historically subject to discrimination are given certain preferences in education and employment.

Fisher said the university denied her admission in favor of lesser-qualified black and Hispanic applicants. She maintained that the program violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Kennedy said that "considerable deference" is owed to universities when they are seeking to determine student diversity. He said that "it remains an enduring challenge to our nation's education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity."

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The high court upheld a July 2014 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the university. That court endorsed the school's "limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity."

The university admits most freshmen through a program that guarantees admission to students in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school graduating classes. It uses other factors including race to admit the remainder. Fisher was not in the top 10 percent of her high school class.

The high court had considered Fisher's case once before. In June 2013, it did not directly rule on the program's constitutionality but ordered the appeals court to scrutinize it more closely.

Writing in dissent, Justice Samuel Alito contended that the court's majority had turned its back on principles from the first Fisher ruling, which he said required judges to give more scrutiny to racial admissions and defer less to university officials, and he opened his dissent remarking, "Something strange has happened since our prior decision in this case."

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While the university's program has resulted in a measure of racial and ethnic diversity, the percentage of black and Hispanic students on campus still remains lower than in the state's overall population.

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Judge Barry Williams handed down the verdict in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Goodson, 46, was the driver of a police transport van in which Gray broke his neck in April 2015. His death triggered rioting and protests in the majority black city. (Reporting by Donna Owens; Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)

A Maryland judge will issue his verdict on Thursday in the closely watched murder trial of a Baltimore police officer for the death of black detainee Freddie Gray, an incident that triggered rioting and protests.

Officer Caesar Goodson Jr, 46, was the driver of a police wagon in which Gray broke his neck in April 2015. Prosecutors said he gave Gray a "rough ride," failed to ensure his safety and should have called for a medic.

Goodson's defense team argued in Baltimore City Circuit Court that Gray caused his own injuries by falling inside the transport van. Goodson also lacked the training to recognize that Gray was hurt, they said.

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Goodson, who is also African-American, is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, three counts of manslaughter, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

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During closing arguments on Monday, Williams peppered prosecutors with questions about what evidence they had that Goodson had bounced Gray around in the van with intent to harm him.

Prosecutor Michael Schatzow told Williams that Goodson's failure to secure Gray and his injuries were enough to show that Gray had gotten a "rough ride."

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will announce he is filing a civil lawsuit Wednesday arising from his Flint drinking water investigation, Schuette's office said late Tuesday.
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Multiple sources within and around the University of Louisiana System Board of Regents have confirmed that Grambling State University President Willie Larkin will either resign or be fired this week.

Dr. Larkin, who was appointed as GSU president last July, drew controversy last week after details about a trip to Cuba were confirmed by staff members to be a vacation for the first-time president, and not an academic outreach trip as he initially promoted to the campus and local media outlets. The trip coincided with the release of the university’s strategic plan.

In February, Grambling’s Faculty Senate voted ‘no confidence’ in Dr. Larkin, citing a vague administrative response to pressing issues such as falling enrollment, fundraising, and the loss of the school’s nursing program. Shortly after the faculty vote, Dr. Larkin penned a letter to the campus community, in which he referred to himself as the university’s ‘healer.’

In that same letter, Larkin announced the reinstatement of the school’s national search for a new athletic director, just days after discontinuing the search in light of budgetary concerns.

Dr. Larkin previously served as chief of staff for Morgan State University President David Wilson, and was on staff when university regents voted to fire Wilson in 2012 three years after his appointment for a string of controversies and general mismanagement at the school.

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Officials at Grambling and the University of Louisiana System did not return calls. No formal announcement about the transition, or a potential interim appointee, have been announced.

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A Baton Rouge assistant principal is accused of killing a pregnant co-worker by shooting her in the head after she allegedly threatened to tell his wife about their affair.

The body of 40-year-old Lyntell Washington was found in a roadside ditch in nearby Iberville Parish on Tuesday, eight days after she disappeared. Robert Marks, in custody since she vanished, was hit with first-degree murder and first-degree feticide charges on Friday after initially being held for kidnapping.

Marks, 39, is an assistant principal at Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy, where Washington, a former Teacher of the Year, according to WAFB, served as an instructional specialist. Marks has been placed on administrative leave.

A colleague told Baton Rouge police that Washington was pregnant with Marks' child and had threatened to expose the relationship. Marks knew Washington was five months pregnant, according to a police report.

Washington asked Marks in one text message if he is "attempting to avoid his responsibilities with our unborn daughter," according to screen shots recovered by the police.

Marks was arrested on June 9 after Washington's 3-year-old daughter was found alone near her mother's car.

The little girl told detectives that "Mr. Robbie" had hurt her mother. The child also said she heard a bang and saw her mom "shaking."

"She further stated that Mr. Robbie was trying to clean the blood and that her mother was 'in the lake,'" according to the police report.

Marks told authorities he last saw Washington at a Walmart at about 8 p.m. on June 8. However, cellphone records showed that their phones traveled to Iberville Parish later that night before returning to the area where Washington's car was found.

Marks admitted to his relationship with Washington, but refused to answer other questions from detectives.

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Lindsay Kimble Jun-18-2016 140 0
Attrell Cordes, known to fans of the critically acclaimed R&B group PM Dawn as "Prince Be," has died. He was 46.

Cordes died Friday of renal kidney disease at a hospital in his home state of New Jersey, his rep confirms to PEOPLE. He is survived by his wife Mary and three children: Christian, Mia and Brandon.

One of the most influential voices of the '90s, Prince Be started PM Dawn with his brother Jarett in 1988. Their chart topping hit "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and their single "I'd Die Without You" was featured in the 1992 Eddie Murphy comedy Boomerang.

The Jersey City, New Jersey, natives drew their name from "the idea that in the darkest hour comes the light," according to their website.

Going on to release three more albums together, Cordes and his brother eventually parted ways as a musical act.

"Prince Be Rest In Peace forever more, Pain from Diabetes can't harm you anymore, My Heart is at Peace B-Cuz U suffered so long, Tell Grandma I said Hi & Stay Blisstatic & Strong," a post read on the group's Facebook page.
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