Originally written on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 11/8/14

Rob Parker has survived. That's the first takeaway from ESPN's announcement this afternoon.  The controversial debater/controversy-igniter has been given a 30 day suspension by the network.  I had thought Parker's job was in serious jeopardy before seeing his apology being read on SportsCenter this morning.  That was a major sign ESPN's investment in Parker wasn't coming to an end.   However, perhaps the more interesting nugget from the ESPN statement is that there have been additional disciplinary measures taken against personnel at First Take and there will be "enhanced editorial oversight" for the widely criticized show: “ESPN has decided to suspend Rob Parker for 30 days for his comments made on last Thursday’s episode of First Take. Our review of the preparation for the show and the re-air has established that mistakes both in judgment and communication were made. As a direct result, clearly inappropriate content was aired and then re-aired without editing. Both were errors on our part. “To address this, we have enhanced the editorial oversight of the show and have taken appropriate disciplinary measures with the personnel responsible for these failures. We will continue to discuss important issues in sports on First Take, including race. Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it on First Take. However, we believe what we have learned here and the steps we have taken will help us do all that better.”   We reached out to ESPN wondering what exactly the enhanced editorial oversight meant and asked about specifics regarding those additional disciplinary measures.  ESPN's response was "We have nothing further to add to the statement." There are several layers to these two paragraphs: 1) In spite of perhaps the most visceral backlash to an ESPN commentary since Rush Limbaugh, Rob Parker has kept his job.  But when he returns, whatever little credibility he had left as a pundit/instigator will have been thrown out the window.  After this firestorm, either he will have truly changed for the better or he'll go back to the same old Rob Parker and the next time he goes way out of bounds to create controversy he will be fired.  Given Parker's history, the latter is most likely, and ESPN will suffer a tumult of negative press once again. 2) ESPN is regretful about Parker's comments airing initially, but perhaps an even bigger mistake is allowing them on the First Take re-air.  Earlier this year, a certain word Stephen A. Smith may or may not have said was scrubbed from the First Take replay.  For it to not happen with Parker's inflammatory words was a stunning lapse in judgment.  Then again, you should say the same thing about it airing in the first place as well.  The fact that nobody initially saw a problem with Parker's comments at First Take to allow it on national television twice is a major cause for alarm. 3) Good news - this is a wake up call to ESPN's debate style programming.  A significant line was crossed and there's hope in ESPN publicly declaring the First Take leash will be tightened.  It's embarrassing for everyone associated and responsible for that circus to be dressed down in this very public way.  ESPN is basically admitting the show cannot be trusted on its own anymore and will take steps to attempt to ensure this kind of race-baiting and stereotyping doesn't happen again.  Maybe this means Skip Bayless will stop with his sideshow antics and name-calling and demeaning punditry, but I have my doubts. 4) Bad news - ESPN's commitment to debate style programming is stronger than ever.  "Debate is an integral part of sports and we will continue to engage in it on First Take" does not give me great hope for the future. There will be scores of individuals unsatisfied with ESPN's actions.  Many have lost their jobs for saying much less offensive things than Parker.  I have a difficult time calling for anyone to be fired, but it is somewhat encouraging that ESPN hasn't just disciplined Parker, but taken a public stance with regards to First Take.   How sincere ESPN is about making those changes and the "enhanced editorial oversight" for First Take will say a lot about Bristol as a whole moving into 2013.  If the show devolves into the same charade we've seen for the last year, we'll know this was only a temporary move done to appease and fend off critics.  If there is real change at First Take and beyond, we'll know ESPN is serious about preserving their own integrity.

1 Comment:
  • “I blew it and I’m sincerely sorry,” Rob Parker wrote six days after the controversy. “I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one.”

    "I believe the intended topic is a worthy one."

    Parker is not apologizing at all, and is playing the dozens here. The topic is whether RGIII fits into Parkers little racist mold of what he thinks African-Americans should be. Parker thinks that somebody has appointed him as the all-powerful arbiter for defining race and racial character. I am pretty sure that there are any number of African-Americans who decline to be defined and pigeon-holed and stereotyped by this mental midget, Rob Parker. That one phrase, that he thinks the topic is a worthy one, says everything about Parker, and it is not pretty. He is trying to play cute with this non-apology, but it is David Duke ugly.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Keenan Lewis: Saints preparing 'funeral' for Falcons

Report: Lakers offered Nash, draft picks for Rondo

Chris Christie defends being a Cowboys fan

Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be 'boon for Beantown'

Harbaugh turned down Michigan money in 2011

Saints pose legitimate threat to any playoff team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Matt Kemp reportedly has arthritis in both hips

Danny Ainge: Celtics 'having a lot of discussions' about trades

Eagles fan posts on Craigslist seeking help for team

Michael Vick has almost paid off all his massive debt

Russell Wilson changes agents ahead of big payday

Dolphins CB: Brady needs to 'wake up' about playing into 40s

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chicago Bears are the Monstrosity of the Midway

Tom Brady's TD celebrations frighten teammates

The impact of normalized U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Dwight Howard kicks Nuggets mascot Rocky

Report: Bears in disbelief over Cutler benching

Is Titans-Jaguars the worst prime-time game this century?

Ranking the most underrated players in the NBA

Darrelle Revis feels sad for Rex Ryan

Five reasons why Oregon will win College Football Playoff

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason so far

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins and other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.