Originally posted on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 12/20/12

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.

This article first appeared on Awful Announcing and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

IndyCar drivers Dixon, Franchitti robbed at gunpoint in Taco Bell drive-thru

Fans in new Raiders Vegas stadium will be able to place bets on mobile devices?

Luke Walton not stressing LaVar Ball, cites his dad's 'big personality'

Durant says he was ‘100 percent correct’ in joining Warriors

Medals handed out at Rio Olympics literally falling apart

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Paul Millsap opts out of contract to become free agent

Ben Roethlisberger 'proud' of self-reporting 2015 concussion

Reporter responds on Twitter to LeBron calling him out at presser

Miguel Cabrera, Sam Dyson at odds over sign stealing accusation

Celtics were upset with talk focusing on Isaiah Thomas

Revis will not face NFL discipline after assault charges dropped

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker