When anyone closely affiliated with the Washington Redskins talks, people in the DC sports media world listen. Robert Griffin III and Chris Cooley are two of the biggest names affiliated with the Redskins, so naturally lots people tuned in this week for what both have had to say.
As a non-Redskins fan living in the DMV, the sports media crutch that is anything Redskins related has drawn more than a few eye rolls from myself and many other sports fans in the area. However, I understand that these media entities have ratings to hit and sponsors to please.
The headlines this week have been dominated by Griffin and Cooley, and even in a market where the smallest offseason Redskins news can eat up several chunks of a news cycle, the attention that both guys got this week was justifiable.
The Redskins crazy train keep chugging down the offseason tracks towards what looks like another difficult season.
For part one let’s take a look at Robert Griffin’s week with the DC media.
Robert Griffin III is not the best quarterback in the NFL. He’s not even in the top 10 or 15 best quarterbacks in the NFL. There are plenty of numbers to support this statement. No one in their right mind would argue that Griffin is the best QB in the league and I’ve got to think Griffin in his heart of hearts doesn’t believe that he’s the best either.
Now, Griffin claims his words were taken out of context. Also, the Redskins banned Griffin from speaking with the media on non game days “for a while” in light of his claim, which is an absolutely ridiculous move for a team to pull with a starting QB in the NFL.
Griffin’s relationship with the DC media and Redskins fanbase has deteriorated rapidly over his 3 year career. When Griffin does an interview where he tells someone from the local media that he’s the best QB in the league, the best word to describe him is tone-deaf.
This is the same guy, who upon signing a 4 year/$21M contract tweeted that he was now “off the unemployment line.” That line was made even more cringe worthy by the fact that he had already signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Adidas four months before signing with the Redskins.
If he really believes he’s the best in the league, that’s great. Professional athletes, by nature, are supremely confident people. They have beaten incredible odds to get to where they are now, and they have absolutely every reason to continue to be confident about their abilities even if the production hasn’t been there.
But believing something and saying something in a preseason interview are two different things. DC is obsessive about the Redskins and the sports coverage in this country is dominated by NFL news. When you say something like you think you’re the best QB in the league when you obviously are not, it’s going to make headlines. You’re an NFL QB, deal with it.
You can’t claim you were taken out of context when you weren’t and you can’t say the media uses you for page views and air time when you’re the Redskins quarterback and have a track record of foot in mouth moments.
No DC athlete in my memory has had the local fans turn their backs on them so quickly after celebrating their arrival to The District so fervently than Griffin.
Griffin’s first season in DC was like a Redskins version of Beatlemania. His jerseys flew off the shelves and every move he made at training camp was reported on thoroughly. ESPN 980 extended their Redskins pregame show to three hours…for preseason games!
Injuries have greatly limited his running ability. Reported rifts with old and new coaching staffs has altered the offensive philosophy and cut into his production. All the while, Griffin tended to his branding and social media presence. For a guy not wanting to be a tool of the media, you sure do see an awful lot of Griffin on every media platform.
Bob Dole once said the most dangerous place in Washington was between New York Senator Chuck Schumer and a microphone.
If the Redskins ever take the muzzle off of “The best quarterback in the league”, he could give Chuck a run for his money.