I've tried to stay out of this as much as possible, but I can't completely walk away. I just can't. Everywhere you turn - Robert Griffin III and his logo debut is in the news.
It is what it is. Some people like it and will support Griffin III and his marketing ventures, the way fans support any product endorsed by any athlete. You have the right to do what you want.
Griffin is always in the spotlight, so anything he does will be either ripped or defended.
Here's the bottom-line because I said so (a tribute to Stone Cold Steve Austin) - A logo, shield or marketing design for a highly visible athlete is nothing that you should be worried about. At all. Period. End of story.
You can say it's selfish. You can say it's for financial gain. You can say it makes him as I've heard some refer to him as "R-G Me" and all of that. Again, that's your right.
However - I would counter by saying that nobody has ever had a problem with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or by god the great American hero Peyton Manning endorsing anything or creating a business empire for themselves while playing. You didn't have a problem in 2012 when Griffin was on top of the football world and making your jaw drop. All of a sudden you don't like it? That's asinine.
How about every single NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver who spends time early in the week meeting and schmoozing with sponsors and then each and every race weekend spends time at corporate hospitality events or meeting with sponsors and marketing executives trying to develop their individual brand and certainly their team brand. Remember NASCAR's most popular driver and Redskins fan, Dale Earnhardt Jr? He went a long time, even with great equipment without winning a single race. Nobody questioned how hard he worked.
Why should you have a problem then with Griffin III? Why? Because he's coming off of a (3-13) season? Because he and the former head coach didn't get along? Because you are worried about him becoming selfish and out of control ego wise?
Let's start with this. Griffin III's marketing contracts were signed several years ago. Yes, he has some input but he has to honor those contracts. He doesn't totally get to pick and choose what he is going to do or not do. He's an easy target. He probably brings some of the criticism on himself. I know this, because I do the same thing.
God forbid, in this town of ridiculously thin-skinned paranoid fans and teams (the Redskins included) you have a different view and go against the grain a bit. Robert didn't go against the fans, but many fans and some media took it as an insult that he would unveil a logo or announce it in the manner he did.
They said - Griffin III should worry more about football than his personal empire. To which I say this. Griffin took care and then some of every football obligation he was legally allowed to do (and then some) before unveiling the logo.
Let's go back in time a bit. Griffin III has been at Redskins Park on a very regular basis from mid - January until late March. During that time, he's not allowed to talk football and strategy with any of the coaching staff or throw the football on the facility grounds. He's basically allowed to work out and that's it.
As we detailed a few weeks ago, Griffin III called upon one member of the Redskins family, ESPN 980's Chris Cooley to start cranking up his football workout regimin. He could have been on vacation. He wasn't.
Griffin III then organized and planned a "Redskins West" passing camp between many of the team's skill players in Phoenix. Santana Moss, who was one of the players at that series of workouts saluted Griffin on ESPN 980 Wednesday for setting it up and organizing the whole event, saying in part "Robert really set it up good."
He could have been on vacation. He wasn't.
You've heard and perhaps seen the twitter hashtag "The Movement" in Griffin's tweets and some other players, like DeAngelo Hall. It was at the end of the Arizona "movement" that Griffin III headed to Southern California, where as it turns out he met with DeSean Jackson and convinced him of the reasons he should come to the Washington Redskins.
Presumably, Jackson said the right things to Griffin and the quarterback gave his approval. Griffin is convinced that Jackson will be a huge addition and will not be a negative force. That still has to be proven but I believe Griffin and DeAngelo Hall's opinion to be trustworthy.
It was at that point after meeting with Jackson, from what I've heard, that Griffin met with his team at Adidas for various meetings which led to the culmination of the new logo. Griffin took his last few days before voluntary workouts to wrap up some personal business and proceded back home to Virginia to prepare for and attend the opening days of the team's first workouts under Jay Gruden.
Speaking of Jackson, he has been on a pre-arranged vacation that he has been posting various pictures about on twitter and instagram. Most fans do not seem to care one bit that he is not present because the team reportedly cleared him and again, the workouts are voluntary.
I do have to wonder - how many fans and media critics have absolutely no problem with Desean Jackson missing these crucial bond building moments, but rail against Griffin for his new shield.
I ask that question without any proof, but it wouldn't surprise me if many Redskins fans and critics are excusing Jackson while condemning Griffin. Again, it's a what have you done for me lately world and Jackson is their new toy. Jackson's abscence is not a significant one in the grand scheme of things, but if I was him and had the reputation that he has clearly earned throughout his career in Philadelphia, I would have done everything to cancel the vacation.
It would have been the right thing to do. DeAngelo Hall is also on a vacation with his family - however I would point this out - when you are a Dad as Hall is, you sometimes have to go when your kids can. Hall is this team's defensive leader, and I would argue that he has replaced London Fletcher as being a significant voice of reason. While it would be nice to have him there, he knows the entire defensive staff and they know him. He knows most of his teammates. Ultimately, both Jackson and Hall are not doing anything wrong. They are allowed and the Redskins could NEVER tell them no.
You know why they can't? They would be in direct violation of the CBA. There's simply nothing the Redskins can do. It just seems odd to me that so many Redskins fans would question Griffin's commitment, despite doing everything he reasonably could to be prepared and get on the right track - yet many fans are just fine with Jackson not being with his new team while doing something personally beneficial.
I'm not trying to turn this into a Jackson vs. Griffin III debate. There is none. I am trying to point out the assinine criticism of Griffin III's work ethic or commitment to the Washington Redskins. That has to stop. That is dead wrong.
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980
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