As Rob Parker goes looking for a job in the next upcoming days, week, months… however long it takes for him to land back on his feet after being released from ESPN; one thing that he should take with him (and i think that anyone who does journalism should heed this) is that you should never alienate your audience.
Your audience is set-up initially when your platform takes off and it is up to us to stay honest without alienating them in our topics and level of discussion. While many people may throw all sorts of angry accusations and disappointments at Rob Parker, the number one thing he is guilty of is alienating his audience.
After he was fired ESPN’s Mike Soltys released a tweet that said “Rob Parker’s contract expired at year end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew.” Rob’s rebuttal to this was to say that his Producers knew that he was going to go there with the conversation and approved it, but this does not give Rob the pass that he thinks it does. He was wrong!
What Rob Parker didn’t take into consideration is that many of the ESPN viewers are white and he brought into this all-inclusive world of Sports a discussion that is really restricted to black males in a certain environment (homes, a Barbershop, or on the field of play); a white audience does not identify with terms like “cornball brothers” or any number of the other ignorant comments Parker made towards Robert Griffin III.
From an outsiders view it probably sounds like a bunch of self hate and elitism to a certain degree. When people heard this, they probably thought “who is this guy to question someone who is obviously black?” “Who is this guy to question his authenticity?”
What was that Rob?
I’m not sure what went through his mind in bringing this discussion forward since it is an ugly conversation that too many people have about black celebrities. Too much “hood-checking” on blacks that are doing things which are none of our business–like dating someone who is outside of their race, class or culture and wearing their hair a certain way–that doesn’t resonate as “cool” to you… or the fact that they speak well?
These things that are brought into question about someone’s blackness just showed an ugly side of the black racial divide. That is why when Rob Parker started in on RGIII to the shock of his fellow hosts, his colleague Stephen A. Smith was appalled by the direction of the discourse.
So as Rob goes on to find a new job (or not), he should keep in mind that this level of garbage conversation is meant to be outside of the public airwaves and left around his dinner table where it is probably discussed. Nobody summed up my feelings better than Antonio Maurice Daniels of Revolutionary Paideia with his open-letter to Rob Parker.
I truly think he deserved to be fired, and i think anyone who alienates their audience like Rob Parker when he brought stinking, black, dirty laundry into the realm of Sports should be fired also. So what do you think of Rob Parker’s firing? Justified or is it another attempt to hold an authentic black man down?