”With the second pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select Robert Griffin III, quarterback from Baylor University.”
And things have been looking up for them ever since. It might be a little too early to judge Robert Griffin III. After all, this is only his rookie season and for anybody out there who is a football fan, there’s a huge list of top prospects who have fallen flat on their face after some initial success or succombed to the sophomore jinx.
Personally, I think I came straight out of my mother’s womb some fifty odd years ago wearing a New York Giants jersey, bleeding blue and have been watching football ever since. I live and die with those bastards’ week in and week out and from what I can see, even though he plays for one of my rivals, this kid is the real deal. So far, the way he’s conducted himself both on and off the field has been remarkable considering the amount of attention he’s gotten. He’s also a pretty damn good example to dismiss the stereotype that student athletes are nothing but a bunch of thugs who are getting a free ride in life just by playing sports. You’ll see why later in this w/u.
Robert Griffin III (better known as RG3) was born and raised in Okinawa where both his parents were stationed in the United States Army. They bounced around a few duty stations until they finally settled in the small town of Copperas Cove, Texas.
High School and College
During high school Griffin lettered in the sports of basketball, football and track and field. He was also a top notch student as indicated by graduating a semester early and serving as class president. He ranked seventh in his graduating class.
With all that talent on display it should come as no surprise that major colleges would come knocking on his door. They included the likes of Stanford, the University of Tennessee, Kansas, Nebraska, Houston, Illinois, Washington State University and Oregon.
After making a verbal commitment to play for Houston, Griffin changed gears and signed a letter of intent to play for Baylor. This was partly due to Houston’s coach leaving and taking the head coaching position for the Baylor Bears.
By the time he was done with college all he did was break just about every record for offense at Baylor, win the Heisman Trophy and turn the football program around. Remember when I said he was no slouch in field of academics? Well, he graduated with a 3.67 GPA and got himself a BA in political science. He followed that up by going after a Master’s degree in communications.
The once proud Washington Redskins had turned in to a laughingstock lately. Poor player selections and a revolving door of coaches contributed to chaos within the organization and the Redskin faithful were getting impatient. Sensing a steal in the making, the Redskins “traded up” with the St. Louis Rams to secure the rights to draft Griffin. He has since taken the league by storm. Consider the following.
In his opening game against the New Orleans Saints he threw for two touchdowns and ran for forty yards. For his efforts we was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, a first for a rookie in their debut game. He would go on to win it a second time later in the season. He’s also won the Rookie of the Week honor six times thus far during the year. To top it off, he was voted by his team mates to be the team captain midway through the season. That’s usually an honor reserved for veteran players and is unheard of for a rookie to be given that honor. He's also given the Redskins a shot at returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
But is he “black enough”?
I fuckin’ hate it when race is interjected into a conversation about NFL quarterbacks. When asked early in the year if he wanted to be the “best black quarterback in the league” RG3 had what I’d call the perfect response. “I don’t want to be the best black QB, I want to be the best QB in the league.”
There was also a whole big hubbub on ESPN yesterday when one of their talking heads (who by the way, is black) wondered aloud if RG3 was one his “brothers”. (I’m still trying to figure out what a “cornball brother” is. If any of you out there know, please feel free to enlighten me.) Here’s what he had to say.
“Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother? He's not real. Okay, 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."
“I want to find out about him. I don’t know, because I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information at all about that. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue."
By making that statement alone I don't think RG3 is the one with the issue. He then went on about how Griffin wears his hair in braids so I guess that makes him sorta kinda almost black enough.
"To me, that's very urban, it makes you feel like ... I think he would have a clean cut if he were more straight-laced or not ... wearing braids is ... you're a brother. You're a brother. If you've got braids on."
In the way of a reply, RG3 had this to say.
"For me, you don't ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That's what I've tried to go out and do."
I know of a certain Doctor that would be mighty proud of that statement.
In closing, I hope RG3 terrorizes defenses around the league for many years to come. His style of play, enthusiasm for the game and infectious smile and personality goes a long way to removing the image of the modern athlete as a dour looking spoiled brat who thinks of nothing but themselves.
Hey Robert, do me a favor though, just don’t work your magic too many times against my beloved New York Giants, my heart can’t take it.
I got a feeling you will though.
Update 1: Apparently the term "cornball brother" is supposedly a politically correct way of calling somebody an Uncle Tom. Shame on you ESPN if you don't fire that guy.
Update 2: The journalist who made the statements, Rob Parker, has been suspended indefinitely by ESPN.
Update 3: In the last game of the 2012 NFL season the Washington Redskins, led by RG3, defeated the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East and advance to the playoffs. Good luck!
The factual stuff comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Griffin_III and the rest comes from gulping down beers on Sunday afternoons during the season at my local watering hole with close friends.