Rob Parker (sports journalist)

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Rob Parker
Born (1964-01-10) January 10, 1964 (age 53)
Jamaica, Queens, New York, U.S.A.
Occupation Sports columnist, TV sports anchor
Years active c. 1986–present

Rob Parker (born January 10, 1964) is an American sports anchor for 7 Action News at 10pm on TV20 Detroit. Prior to that, he was a sports columnist for and a regular commentator on WDIV-TV Local 4 Sports Final Edition.[1] Parker previously served as a sports columnist for The Detroit News and a member of ESPN'S First Take program.


Parker received a B.S. in journalism from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.[2]


He was the first black sports columnist at the Detroit Free Press in 1993[2] and the first black general sports columnist at Newsday in New York in 1995.[3] Parker has also written for The Detroit News, The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the Daily News in New York and The Cincinnati Enquirer.[2]


Parker was the first-ever host on the WDFN sports radio station in Detroit in 1994.[citation needed] He subsequently hosted the sports-talk radio show, "Parker and The Man" with Mark Wilson for a decade on various stations. Parker also had a show[when?] on ESPN Radio in New York. On March 24, 2014, "Parker and The Man" returned to WDFN.[citation needed]


He has worked at WDIV-TV in Detroit since 1993.[citation needed] Parker was hired on at ESPN in 2003. He was a regular on ESPN's First Take, where he debated controversial sports topics with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. He also appeared on ESPN's Numbers Never Lie with Michael Smith. Parker also hosted a TV show called "Sports Rap" on WADL in Detroit with Detroit Lions safety Ron Rice.


Parker once penned a much-maligned column where he called Hank Aaron a "coward" for declining to attend when Barry Bonds would break the career home run record.[4] [5]

Michigan State fight[edit]

In October 2008, Parker erroneously reported that Kirk Cousins, quarterback for the Michigan State Spartans, was involved in a fight with members of the Michigan State hockey team. After being publicly reproved by head coach Mark Dantonio at his weekly news conference, Parker was suspended by The Detroit News for two weeks.[6]

Rod Marinelli question[edit]

On December 21, 2008, at a press conference following the Lions 42–7 loss to the New Orleans Saints, during the Detroit Lions 0–16 season, Parker caused controversy when he addressed a question at Lions head coach Rod Marinelli about Lions defensive coordinator Joe Barry, Marinelli's son-in-law, inquiring whether Marinelli wished that his daughter had "married a better defensive coordinator."[7] The question was criticized as unprofessional and inappropriate. The next day, Parker wrote that the comment was "an attempt at humor" and not a malicious attack.[8] On January 6, 2009, The Detroit News announced that Parker had resigned from the newspaper the previous week.[9]

Comments on Robert Griffin III[edit]

On December 13, 2012, on First Take, Parker made controversial remarks relating to Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III during a segment discussing Griffin's comment at an earlier press conference that although he was an African-American, he did not want to be defined by that alone.[10] Parker stated that these words were a "red flag" for him and asked "Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?" When asked to explain what he meant by this, he stated, "He's not real. OK, he's black, he kind of does the thing, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black but he's not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else." Parker then cited Griffin having a white fiancee and "talk about how he's a Republican" (though he acknowledged having no information to support this).[11]

Later that day, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said that Parker's comments, "were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps."[12] ESPN announced on December 20, 2012 that Parker would be suspended for 30 days.[13][14] Parker expressed surprise at the reaction to his comments, stating "Looking back on some of the comments, I can see where people could take it out of context and run with it. But the response and what happened over the past 30 days is just shocking." [15] ESPN announced on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, that Parker would not return.[16]


  1. ^ rts/parkersconfidential "Rob Parker: CONFIDENTIAL" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Rob Parker (Biography)". Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ Wolper, Allan (May 20, 1995). "Racial Strife At Newsday?". Editor & Publisher. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Parker, Rob (2007-04-20). "Shame on Aaron for not being supportive of Bonds". Detroit News. [dead link]
  5. ^ Raissman, Bob (2012-12-16). "THE FALL GUY: If ESPN cans Rob Parker for his absurd comments on Robert Griffin III, he shouldn't be the only one". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  6. ^ Chandler, Rick (2008-10-29). "A Detroit Columnist Caught Making Stuff Up? Surely Not". Deadspin. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  7. ^ "Parker Says Question to Marinelli Wasn't 'Personal Attack'". ESPN. 2008-12-23. 
  8. ^ Parker, Rob (2008-12-22). "There's more to Marinelli". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  9. ^ Detroit News Columnist Who Insulted Coach Quits, January 6, 2009
  10. ^ Steinberg, Dan. "Rob Parker on RGIII's blackness." The Washington Post 13 Dec. 2012. 13 Dec. 2012 [1]
  11. ^ Chase, Chris (2012-12-13). "ESPN's Rob Parker on RGIII: 'Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?'". USA Today. 
  12. ^ Corbett, Jim (2012-12-13). "Robert Griffin III's dad responds to Rob Parker". Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  13. ^ ESPN suspends Rob Parker over Robert Griffin III comments - ESPN
  14. ^ Rob Parker suspended by ESPN for 30 days - ESPN
  15. ^ "Other Sports | Detroit Free Press". Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  16. ^ "Rob Parker's contract not renewed by ESPN - ESPN". 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 

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