Parker received a B.S. in journalism from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.
He was the first black sports columnist at the Detroit Free Press in 1993 and the first black general sports columnist at Newsday in New York in 1995. 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.
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 on ESPN Radio in New York. On March 24, 2014, "Parker and The Man" returned to WDFN.
Parker currently works as a contributor to FS1's Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, teaming up again with former debate partner Skip Bayless from ESPN's First Take. He has worked at WDIV-TV in Detroit since 1993. Parker was hired on at ESPN in 2003. He was a regular on First Take, where he debated controversial sports topics with 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.
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.
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." 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. On January 6, 2009, The Detroit News announced that Parker had resigned from the newspaper the previous week.
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. 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).
Later that day, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said that Parker's comments, "were inappropriate and we are evaluating our next steps." ESPN announced on December 20, 2012 that Parker would be suspended for 30 days. 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." ESPN announced on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, that Parker would not return.