RG III's dad: Mum's the word

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
10:15
AM ET
Robert Griffin III’s dad will no longer talk to the media, writes the Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin, a talented journalist who wrote a book about the quarterback. This is a good move by Griffin’s dad and, honestly, long overdue. It’s not his fault that many people asked him for interviews; he accommodated just about any request. Can’t blame him there at all.

And I know why many kept going back to him: He was honest about what he thought, and there was a sense he was speaking for his son, or at least providing insight into his son’s thinking. Because Griffin III was, and still is, largely off limits, this was a perceived window into his thinking. Initially my thought was: We don’t hear from the parents of other players, but then I googled “Adrian Peterson’s father” and, voila, there was this article (did we really need his dad to say Peterson was upset about getting only five second-half carries in a close game?). It’s headline grabbing when the father of a player knocks the team or coach. And when journalists know someone is willing to go hard like that, they will return to the source when the story shifts.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin Jr.
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezRobert Griffin Jr., left, father of QB Robert Griffin III, is no longer granting interviews to the media.
No parent wants to see their son get hurt, no matter the profession. So Griffin’s dad was like pretty much every other one in that regard; he wants to see his son maximize his talent and, in a brutal profession, earning potential. But Griffin is not the first player returning from this sort of surgery; though after this offseason it just feels that way. Yes, his dad has a ton invested in him. Certainly, there are other moms and dads who are equally invested in their NFL-playing sons who are never asked anything.

Yes, Griffin is more high-profile, and there are many debates about the offense Washington runs with him. It’s a little different situation, I get that. I’m also guessing Andrew Luck’s dad has thoughts on how his son was used last season behind a weak line. Maybe the Colts could use him differently, too? The debate on how a player is used is not unique to Griffin. I don’t know if Russell Wilson’s mom likes how he’s being used (his dad, who was heavily involved in grooming his son’s athletic talents, died in 2010). I don’t know if Colin Kaepernick’s parents like how he’s being used. In Griffin Jr.'s case, we have to remember: He's a dad, not a coach.

Griffin Jr. should be celebrated for being heavily involved in his son’s life, and for having a great relationship with him (best man at his wedding). Instead, it became more about his words on the Redskins’ offense or about coach Mike Shanahan. By all accounts his dad is a friendly man and wonderful parent (he would often steer his son to more autograph seekers at camp, so he’s cognizant of his son’s responsibilities as well). You don’t want that to get lost in this narrative. Instead, when his dad spoke it fueled controversy, real or perceived. I don’t know if any sort of Griffin fatigue is setting in or not (certainly, I’m sure it is outside the Redskins’ fan base, which, you’d have to admit, is not surprising). But I do know it’s good for his dad to stay quiet. We know what he thinks on this topic. Now it’s time for his son to do all the talking. I think I can safely say for everyone: It will be nice when that talking is about his actions on the field and not what he meant by this tweet or that comment. Instead of reading between the lines, I'm eager to watch him play between the lines.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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