Over the past week, Washington’s sports scene has been at the center of some national media frenzy.
Very little of the talk had anything to do with what DC’s teams and players did on the field. Rather, an idiot at ESPN decided to question the racial identity of Robert Griffin III and Griffin’s commitment to a “cause.” The commentary was sad, simple, and stupid, and it took place on a show that likes to “embrace debate.” [Ed. note: Parker has since been suspended for the remarks, according to ESPN.]
The entire discussion centered on a tired notion of what constitutes appropriate behavior for a young black athlete, and was featured on a show centered on promoting invented controversies.
The idiot that led the discussion, Rob Parker, took issue with Griffin’s desire to become the best quarterback of all time. Parker would prefer that Griffin want to be the best black quarterback of all time. Or something like that.
“I understand the whole story of ‘I just want to be the best.’ Nobody’s out on the field saying to themselves, ‘I want to be the best black quarterback.’ You’re just playing football, right? You want to be the best, you want to throw the most touchdowns and have the most yards and win the most games. Nobody is [thinking] that,” Parker said. “But time and time we keep hearing this, so it just makes me wonder deeper about him.”
Parker wasn’t done making an ass of himself: “He’s kind of black, but he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with, because he’s off to do something else.”
Parker went on to insult Griffin’s fiancée, who is white, and call RG3 a “cornball brother.”
The only thing we learned yesterday is that Parker is an idiot, while Griffin remained comfortably above it all. He issued no response, and hours later put out a thank you to all his supporters via Twitter.
I'm thankful for a lot of things in life and One of those things is your support. Thank you— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) December 14, 2012
Despite being a transparent attempt to promote his own fledgling career by insulting one of football’s brightest stars, combined with a track record of attacking public figures’ family members, yesterday was nothing more than a reminder of Parker’s narrow mind and antiquated view points.
Are there things about the black experience that I can’t understand as a 31-year-old white male? Certainly. Is Griffin’s desire to be the best quarterback relevant to that discussion? Absolutely not.
Griffin is a stand-up young man, a brilliant football player, and an ideal role model for the diverse Washington region. RG3 is our quarterback. No idiot, and no TV show, can change that, and both should stop trying.
Instead of ginned-up racial turmoil, for the past week DC has been focused on the health of Griffin’s knee. He took a nasty hit in the overtime win against the Ravens last Sunday, and Griffin luckily got through the collision without any serious damage.
The question now turns to Cleveland, where the Redskins will play the Browns on Sunday. Riding high on a four-game win streak, the Redskins are on the brink of the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Griffin’s starting status for the Cleveland game will not be revealed until game time, and few outside of the Skins organization truly know who will play quarterback.
Griffin and backup Kirk Cousins give the Skins a good chance to beat the Browns. Many will look at the Browns’ 5-8 record and dismiss the Cleveland team, but that would be short-sighted. The Browns are winners of three straight games, and the streak should be four games after a very competitive loss to the Cowboys in mid-November.
Regardless of who lines up under center, if the Redskins belong in the playoffs they can prove it this week. It’s a classic trap game for an underachieving team, a typical Redskins loss over the past 20 years.
These Redskins are no longer the typical tortured Washington franchise. In RG3, the Skins have a leader that will not let himself, or his team, be put into any box—no matter how many idiots try to put him in one.