It may even please Robert Griffin III himself, who, even as he points himself squarely toward the Redskins’ Sept. 9 season opener, manages to draw enough attention to the perceived tension between himself and Coach Mike Shanahan on his own without any additional salvos from his dad.
Besides, we already know how the elder Griffin feels about the way his son should be used in 2013 as the latter returns from the knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in January and fueled half a year’s worth of controversy.
On May 22, Griffin Jr., the man who molded his son in the image of his own quarterback idols of the 1970s, told The Washington Post: “I just know that based on what I know Robert can do, he doesn’t have to be a runner as much as I saw last year. To me, you’re paying these [receivers] a lot of money to catch the football. I’m his dad — I want him throwing that football, a lot. A lot.”
What more was there to say? A little more, as it turns out. In the September issue of GQ magazine, featuring his son on the cover, Griffin Jr., 48, was quoted as saying, “You name one quarterback out there that would rather run the football than throw the football and I’ll show you a loser.”
Putting aside the contentious question of whether the read-option offense — predicated in large part upon the threat of Griffin running the ball — actually puts the quarterback at greater risk or protects him by freezing the linebackers and ends, the reaction to the elder Griffin’s comments was almost universally negative and could be boiled down to two words: Butt out. The perception was that Robert Griffin Jr. was a meddler — or worse, a helicopter parent who was inserting himself where he doesn’t belong: in the professional affairs of his adult son.
“My dad would never go to the media and have any quotes about what I do at my job,” said former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, like Griffin III the product of a military family, on his 106.7 The Fan radio show. “. . . My father is not going to make my business his business as an adult. It came across the wrong way.”
But such criticism fails to acknowledge a few things: First, Griffin Jr. wasn’t going around offering his opinions; in each instance, he was asked a question and answered honestly, as a parent seeking to protect his son.
Second, the fact that other players’ fathers do not routinely opine about their sons’ usage doesn’t mean anything. These are unique circumstances: the most important player at the most important position on the most important team in a major media market, where there are legitimate questions about whether said player’s health is put at risk by the nature of the team’s offense.