Robert Griffin III is not only impressive on the field, as Quarterback for The Washington Redskins, he’s equally impressive off of it. Bascially RG3 is a smart, emotionally balanced, disciplined young man with a wicked sense of humor. And frankly, he’s part of a new generation of African American college football players who are entering the NFL Draft: if you did not know the players, and had a blindfold put on you before you talked to them, you’d have no idea what color they were, and might think you were talking to a lawyer.
Of course, it should not be that this blogger has to point to a “new generation” but, for a host of reasons, the emergence of the black player like RG3 has been delayed. But, thanks to parents like Robert Griffin II, that’s changed. Just after The Redskins drafted RG3 as the second pick in the 1st round, we talked to Robert Griffin II about how he raised his son to be the person he is. I saved the video for that time when so much light is being placed on RG3 that people would appreciate hearing from his father.
Mr. Griffin, a U.S. Army veteran with the rank of Sergeant, First Class, said that the schedule of a military person is such that they had to work to make sure they had quality time with Robert III and his sister. And he was careful to manage the type of people who were friends of the family. “When we did bring friends around, we did things together,” he said, “we wanted to make sure Robert and his sister knew we were there for them.”
Mr. Griffin also noted that he and his wife “wanted to stay attractive to he and our daughters.” That is, Griffin and his wife always made sure they did things that their kids wanted to do, and that were contemporary, so they were fun to be around. In that way, his offspring were less likely to want to go and and get away from their parents, and into trouble. That was true, even through high school.
Many African American NFL Draft players have come from broken homes, but that wasn’t the case for Robert Griffin III; his parents are together. Moreover, his father (I think interested in challenging what sounded like a stereotype) said that he and his wife didn’t know divorced couples; everyone was married regardless of color.
But that points to another dynamic that’s driven the makeup of the NFL Draft over the years – many African American players were channeled toward football because they didn’t see another way out if they came from a poor background and were fortunate enough to go to college.
But what’s happening in the ongoing mainstreaming of Black America, is that more student athletes don’t come from poor backgrounds, but are like RG3’s parents and come from middle or upper class backgrounds. Football is not their only ticket to success.
Faith And Honesty Are Guiding Tenants
Mr. Griffin says he reminds Robert that “when everything else isn’t there for you, faith is there for you.” He also tells Robert to be honest and say that he may not want to do something that he has determined may not be good for him. Mr. Griffin says that people will respect you if you honestly say you don’t want to do something. And apply the Golden Rule: do onto others as you would have others do onto you.
When He Knew RG3 Had “It”
RG2 says he first new RG3 had “it” when he and his wife saw their son make a “Dr. J” move against a basketball opponent when he was nine and the other player was 12 years old. He looked at his wife and said “Did you see what Robert did? And Robert was five-five and this kid was pushing six-three.”
And About The Law…
Oh, and if you recall the sentence where I said that some of the new NFL players sound like lawyers? Well, that’s no accident. “Robert,” his father informs us, “wanted to be a lawyer,” and had made that decision in the 10th Grade. So his parents went to find schools for him, so that he would get a good undergraduate law education as a prelude to law school.
Well, RG3’s going to have to put law school on hold for a bit, but I can see him going back to earn it, and then running for office at some point in the future. Get used to the idea: he may be your Senator, Congressman, or President in the future.