In the immediate aftermath of Robert Griffin III’s knee injury on Sunday, a lot of media members suggested that Mike Shanahan should have sat down his quarterback to protect the future of the franchise. A lot of ex-athletes and fans countered by arguing that an elite athlete will almost never be removed from a do-or-die game if he or she still feels able to play.
Combat sports are a notable exception. Throwing in the towel is the ultimate example of benching an elite athlete who won’t bench himself. Former NFL quarterback and current SiriusXM analyst Rich Gannon made that parallel explicitly this week.
“At some point you’ve got to protect a player from himself,” Gannon said on The SiriusXM Blitz. “Robert Griffin’s the ultimate competitor. He wants to be out there. He’s gonna tough it out. You could tell he was in excruciating pain, even with the knee brace. I never saw a player that had a knee brace on whose knee — the flexion in that knee — just gave out like that….
“Here’s a guy that was out there, trying to do his best for his teammates,” Gannon continued. “I think at some point, somebody’s got to step in. It’s like stopping a fight in the 15th round or something, when the guy’s been knocked around too much and he can’t defend himself. I mean, that was the situation to me when I looked at Robert Griffin III.”
Meanwhile, here’s pro wrestler Kevin Nash, weighing in. Again, the Andrews angle is kind of being distorted, but it’s still Kevin Nash lecturing Mike Shanahan.
In the future when you get advice from Dr. James Andrews, please take it. He’s put me back together at least 10 times. #2ndonlytogod
— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) January 7, 2013
Meanwhile, here’s former Wizards center Etan Thomas, writing for The Root DC:
But the mentality that “Real men stay behind the wheel no matter how injured they are” can mean the difference between a long flourishing, record setting, history book worthy career which you could have, and a career that ends way before it has had the chance to reach its possible heights. Simply put, you can’t let them run you into the ground.
Will more or less words be spent on RGIII’s knee as compared to Stephen Strasburg’s elbow? Probably less, because there isn’t the same months-long build-up, but we’ll see.