I have read with interest the news of Robert Griffin III signing with the Baltimore Ravens, because regardless of his missteps both on and off the field over the years, I like the guy.
His time with the Redskins were both amazing and frustrating, as he may end up being the most polarizing athlete to ever play in D.C. To fans that liked him, he could do no wrong; any other player who took playing time from RGIII – mainly Kirk Cousins – they gave zero credit to.
Perhaps it’s just the way things are in the current electronic village known as social media, but when there was the battle of Sam or Sonny for Redskins QB in the 70s, you liked one or the other; you were not required to like one and absolutely hate the other. But that was RGIII vs. KC in Washington.
I have always been in the camp of liking whoever makes plays and wins games, so I liked RGIII in 2012, and liked Cousins in subsequent years. But my reasons for really liking the Ravens giving Griffin a chance has nothing to do with either of those occurrences.
It has more to do with a warm October Friday night here in Ashburn (there's a fantastic picture of that evening above the headline by Marianne Thiede). Broad Run was playing a high school football game, and there was an event going on for breast cancer awareness called “Pink’d.” Griffin’s popularity was soaring, so students at Broad Run tweeted at him heavily asking that he make the short drive from Redskins Park over to Ashburn Road for the event. They even had a “Pink’d” T-shirt ready and waiting for him.
Griffin never said whether he was coming. But right after halftime of the game, he showed up. There was no announcement, no press release, no entourage, nobody but Griffin, showing support for a neighborhood school. He smiled and posed for countless pictures, put on that “Pink’d” T-shirt and posed for more pictures. He was as gracious as anyone could be.
I was very impressed with that. The mark of a person’s character is usually when the cameras are off, not on. Griffin didn’t have to be there, but showed up any way and did all that was asked of him. He’s a genuinely good guy, I thought, and my opinion hasn’t changed. Has he done and said things I wish he hadn’t? Certainly. All young people do. Has he matured to the point that he won't repeat some of his mistakes of the past? We'll see.
So good luck, Robert Griffin III. Pressure may make diamonds, but being humbled and learning from it makes for a better person and a better life. Do what you do, as they say, and if you can just recapture a little of 2012 both on the field – and off it similar to one October night at Broad Run High School – you'll be fine.
We will all be watching with interest...