The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

RGIII will narrate Doug Williams piece for ESPN

Like many of you, I was of the opinion that too much was made of Robert Griffin III’s race during his rookie season. For a team that so recently marketed itself around Jason Campbell, and then around Donovan McNabb, the Redskins handing their offense to a Heisman Trophy winning QB who happened to be black didn’t seem like a huge deal.

The Doug Williams situation, though, was quite a bit different. The Post’s lead story after Williams won a Super Bowl 25 years ago Thursday — written by Bill Gildea and Leonard Shapiro — included Williams’s race in the fourth paragraph.

“In a game that focused on the quarterbacks — Williams because he was the first black to play the position in the Super Bowl, and Denver’s John Elway because of his overall brilliance — Williams staged one of pro football’s greatest big-game performances,” they wrote.

In his postgame remarks, owner Jack Kent Cooke extended his congratulations, “not just to a black quarterback, but to a great quarterback.”

And a U.S. Senate resolution praising the Redskins later that week noted that in “ignoring injury and throwing brilliant passes, [Williams] led the Redskins to a record four touchdowns in the second quarter that sealed the Super Bowl victory and shattered one of the worst racial barriers in sports.”

The racial angle, in other words, was right there in the forefront. And when ESPN decided to revisit that moment on its Super Bowl Sunday edition of Sunday’s NFL Countdown — focusing on how Williams changed the perception of black quarterbacks — they asked RGIII to provide narration. He agreed; the seven-minute piece, with Griffin’s narration, will air this weekend.

“Having the opportunity to play and win the Super Bowl 25 years ago, and to have Robert Griffin lll narrating this piece on me for ESPN, wow what a blessing!!” Williams wrote to the network, when told that RGIII was participating. “Thanks, and Hail to the Redskins.”

For more on the 25th year anniversary, see William World News, CSN Washington and the Skins Blog.