Robert Griffin III says ‘it’s just not the time’ to take a stance on Redskins name

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Robert Griffin III did a series of radio interviews last Thursday and, in addition to fielding questions about his team’s recently completed minicamp, Griffin was asked about the controversy surrounding the Redskins name.

“Us as players, we have to control what we can control,”Griffin said during an appearance on ESPN 980’s Inside the Locker Room. “And right now what we’ve been focusing on the entire offseason is getting better as a football team and meshing with the coaches and learning the system that they’re teaching us, and all the coaching points that they’re giving us. All the stuff that’s happening on the outside is stuff that we cannot focus on because we don’t have the power to do anything about it.”

Griffin gave a similar response during an interview with Chad Dukes and LaVar Arrington on 106.7 The Fan before opening up a little more on the issue.

“We hear a lot about it just because, in this area, it’s going to be talked about because it directly affects our organization,” Griffin said. “But as players, and I think I can speak for the players and the coaches for that extent, that we know that we have to focus on what we can control, and that’s what happens on the football field. And our focus is on making sure that this season is much better — not just a little bit — but much better than last year, because that’s not acceptable. So that’s what we focus on, man, and we have the power to change that. The other stuff is a bunch of legal things that are going on, that us as players, we can’t focus on that. Like I said, we gotta focus on what we can control, and we know what we can and what we can’t.”

Arrington followed up that response by referencing a suggestion from a caller earlier in the week that Griffin has the opportunity to be the Muhammad Ali of this era by taking a stance against the Redskins name. Arrington said he didn’t agree with comparing what Ali did for the civil rights movement to what Griffin could do for the Redskins nickname controversy, but he asked the quarterback if he ever feels pressure to be the champion for either side of the debate.

“When it comes to those conversations, it’s just not the time,” Griffin said. “And I understand, trust me. I’m African American, I’ve grown up being African American my entire life, and I understand oppression and all the things that come with it. But for us, like I said, as players, we have to focus on what we can control right now and right now that’s the football season. If anything to that extent came up as a player, and you have an opportunity to be the Muhammad Ali of your generation, when it comes to oppression and just things being wrong — you know, my parents grew up in that time, I’ve heard stories about it, I’ve watched movies about it, I understand that — and if it comes to that, then you make a decision at that time, but at this time particularly, we have to focus on what we can control.”

First transcribed by 106.7 The Fan’s Chris Lingebach. Listen to the entire interview here.


Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSAllen or e-mail him if you’ve got a tip to share.



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Scott Allen · June 23, 2014

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