Tom Joyner on RGIII, Mike Shanahan and ‘Django’

January 7, 2013

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

 

If you thought we were going to make it through the first 24 hours after Robert Griffin III’s playoff injury without someone saying something potentially explosive that you wish you hadn’t really heard, well, you were wrong.

As several readers pointed out, Tom Joyner brought up the Redskins game on his popular syndicated radio program Monday morning. I’m not a regular listener, so I can’t swear that this wasn’t some sort of a gimmick, but it seemed awfully sensitive ground.

“I’m just gonna say it, I think Mike Shanahan — the coach of the Washington Redskins — could be compared to the character that DiCaprio plays in Django,” Joyner said.

That character, of course, is a slave owner, who has some of his slaves fight for entertainment.

“You’re absolutely right,” comedian J.A. Brown said. “Keep fighting, Negros.”

“Keep fighting,” Joyner echoed. “Keep fighting. RGIII had no business playing.”

“At all,” Brown agreed.

“The team’s doctor says that he was not cleared to play,” Joyner continued, slightly confusing the story. (According to USA Today, Dr. James Andrews had not examined RGIII before he re-entered last month’s game against the Ravens. There have been no indications that doctors wanted RGIII out against the Seahawks.)

“Mike Shanahan put him in there anyway,” Joyner went on. “If you saw the movie, just like DiCaprio had the Mandingos fighting in the room. That’s what he did. That’s what he did to RGIII.”

“Kirk Cousins did a good job when he came in there man, he really did,” Brown said.

“Now, did RGIII play any part in that, in saying he was good to go?” asked Sybil Wilkes.

“He probably did,” Joyner allowed.

“So, there’s culpability on both sides?” Wilkes suggested.

“Yeah, he wants to win,” Joyner said. “He wants the team to win at all costs. But somebody is responsible — and that should be Mike Shanahan — for saying, Okay son, I know you want to go in, the doctors say you’re not cleared,” Joyner went on. “That’s Mike Shanahan. He’s gonna get the boy killed. And you don’t know how bad the injury is. He’s re-injured it. Will he be able to come back like Adrian Peterson? Not likely.”

“He’s as bad as the white man in Django?” asked Brown, still sounding uncertain.

“He’s as bad as the mean white man in Django,” Joyner said. “Talk to me. Do you agree or not?”

Again, I don’t know. Maybe this whole thing was a put-on. But it didn’t really sound like it. And even if it was hyperbole for sport, you can’t really compare Mike Shanahan to an evil fictional slave owner without raising some eyebrows.

(Via @LoudGoat and others.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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