In a Tuesday column, David Neal argues that “ESPN shows hypocrisy by suspending Rob Parker for insensitivity” over his comments about Robert Griffin III. I disagree wholeheartedly.
While it’s true that ESPN is in a ratings game, it’s not the Trolling Broadcasting Network. ESPN’s coverage of Tebow, which draws big audiences, should not be compared to the roundtable discussion that Parker and his cohorts participate in daily. ESPN has some wonderful opinion-based programming and it relies on the experts to be able to civilly and rationally talk about the issues.
Parker’s comments were way out of bounds. If ESPN did what Neal suggests and left Parker in the rotation and allowed outraged viewers to tune away, the network loses. It would stand behind a man whose comments are so outlandish to the point it seems satirical and then pay the price for it. Instead, ESPN acted correctly in suspending the commentator and making a statement about appropriate behavior on the air. If only more cable channels would take ESPN’s lead we would have a calmer and more measured national discourse on our hands.
Danny Groner, New York City