Detroit columnist Parker quits

Updated: January 7, 2009, 12:40 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- A Detroit News sports columnist has left the paper, two weeks after he was criticized for asking Lions coach Rod Marinelli if he had wished his daughter married a better defensive coordinator.

Rob Parker resigned Friday, managing editor Don Nauss said Tuesday. Parker declined to comment on his departure.

Joe Barry is Marinelli's son-in-law and was defensive coordinator during Detroit's 0-16 season. On Dec. 21, after a 42-7 loss to New Orleans, Parker asked Marinelli about his daughter's decision to marry Barry.

"Anytime you attack my daughter, I've got a problem with that," Marinelli said.

Multiple media reports indicate he was demoted following that exchange.

Parker said he wasn't trying to hurt the coach or his family. He wanted to "lighten the moment" after a rough loss.

Nauss, however, said the question was "inappropriate and unprofessional."

"We said we were taking the matter seriously and we would deal with it," he said. "Draw your own conclusions about what transpired. I have to emphasize Rob submitted his resignation and we accepted it. It was a voluntary action."

Marinelli and his son-in-law were fired after the Lions' winless season. Barry's father, assistant offensive line coach Mike Barry, also was dismissed.

Parker's question drew on-air fire from Fox football analyst Terry Bradshaw, who called him a "total idiot."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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