Rob Parker with Melvin Harris Jr, editor of the A&T Register, when Parker visited North Carolina A&T.
June 1, 2023

Rob Parker’s is innovating media to highlight Black athletes

Jordan Davis

For nearly 40 years, Rob Parker has embodied the plight of Black journalists in a field dominated by white men.

Having become the first Black sports columnist at the Detroit Free Press and the first Black general sports columnist at Newsday, Parker has first-hand experience innovating new pathways of success for Black sportswriters.

Today, the Queens native runs a new site put in place to spotlight people who look like him. is a media platform Parker created to provide daily coverage of Black and brown players all across MLB.

Thirty years ago, 18% of the league's players were Black. In 2023, it’s down to 6.2%.

Even more alarming: Not a single American-born Black player was on  either team’s roster in the 2022 World Series. One could say MLBbro is needed now more than ever before.

“When I created MLBbro, I envisioned a platform that would solely cover this set group of 80-90 Black players in the league,” Parker said. “The other part of my vision was to help develop the next group of Black and brown baseball writers, sportscasters and content creators.”

Parker, who is the co-host of The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio with Chris Broussard, debuted the platform back in April 2021. A site that once had just 15 staff members now houses nearly 60 who contribute to content uploaded on the platform — all of which are Black men or Black women who are getting paid as of 2022.

WFMY (Greensboro, N.C.) reporter Jaelen Gilkey, a content reporter for MLBbro, immediately wanted a part in shining a spotlight on Black MLB players after receiving the offer from Parker upon its launch.  (Gilkey’s father, Bernard Gilkey, played 12 years in the majors, with the Cardinals, Mets, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Braves.)

“Baseball is a staple in my family, so naturally wanting to help grow the game is something very special to me,” Gilkey said. “My goal is not only to help highlight the Black players in the game but to help connect those players to the non-traditional baseball fans, in turn drawing in more Black faces to the stadium as well as at the grassroots level.”

Parker’s goal of placing a spotlight on Black players became much brighter in March when it was announced that had reached an agreement with MLB to feature its content on league platforms. With the partnership, more fans of the game will now be able to access MLBbro content such as feature stories on players and the MLBbro Show Podcast.

In a statement announcing the partnership, MLB called the collaboration “a great opportunity to highlight the impact of Black baseball athletes at various levels, from the youth to the Major Leagues.”

“That was a really important partnership for us in supporting Rob and what he’s doing to amplify the voices of Black players in the game,” a league spokesman said earlier this month.

Perhaps most importantly, Parker’s dedication to mentoring the next generation of sportswriters serves as the motive for creating platforms like MLBbro.

“It’s beautiful to see so many young brothers and sisters who love the game and want to be a part of it to add our voices and our perspectives about America’s pastime,” Parker said.

“I’m happy with my career and what I’ve done. So the most important thing to me now is the people I’ve helped along the way,” he continued. “When you go to and you see those 60 faces, that means more to me than anything I've ever accomplished.”

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