After Robert Griffin III was hit in the johnce literally and figuratively on Monday Night Football, there was some stupid "controversy" involving his father's presence in the locker room. It was actually pretty crazy. Get this: his dad was in the locker room.
Miraculously, the earth continued rotating on its axis and humanity endured, but it was not a "good look for Robert." Can't be having unusual goings on after a loss, best to keep it like the seven other times. Otherwise people will ask questions. Issues will be made.
Gotta have boundaries. I get the love his Dad has 4 his son. I completely get it. But thats like walking in the ladies room. Not for him.
— Eric Bickel (@EBJunkies) November 26, 2013
With all the negative energy around RG3 past week, last thing was dad in locker room. Wait in the hall like everyone else out of sight.
— Rick Snider (@Snide_Remarks) November 26, 2013
Articles will be written. It's important to note, though that there's nothing wrong with Robert Griffin, Jr.'s presence in the Washington locker room. It's noted in every article. The problem is...is that it's weird? I guess? Plus, they lost so it's...something worse? There is no question that it is an issue that will need to be addressed.
There's nothing wrong with RG2 being in the locker room or in the media session. If he's there after a win, I'd wager that no one notices or says anything about it. Or at least that no one cares.
But the Redskins didn't win. They lost in pretty embarrassing fashion at home during a prime time game. And it was clear that Griffin struggled throughout the game.
Take a struggling team, a major market, a coach under fire, a high-profile quarterback and you've already got enough blood in the water for the media and fans.
Add in a "football dad" hanging out by the locker room and it could be a long couple weeks for Griffin and the Redskins.
Occasionally celebrities find their way in. Teams have allowed certain children into locker rooms at times, but they often are whisked away after a short spell. There are probably other exceptions, though it's hardly common.
But to Snider's other point, this was no ordinary week. The white-hot glare on the team right now is impossible to miss, and the sight of an outsider hanging around the locker room after a brutal loss might have upset a few players.
Then again, it might not have. A few players have been critical of RG3, but there seems to be strong support otherwise in the locker room. This story probably doesn't get told if the Redskins win Monday night, or if they were 8-3 instead of 3-8. And there's no question that anything out of the ordinary surrounding Griffin right now is going to be blown up more than almost any other player right now.
Everything that goes on with Griffin will be dissected and rehashed more than most players in the NFL. It was like that when things went well for him last year; it was like that in the offseason when he rehabbed and it's like that when he's playing the way he is this season — and the team is playing just as poorly. So: When his father enters the locker room shortly after the media and is in there for a while, chatting with his son at his locker, it's noteworthy. I haven't seen other parents ever do that (sometimes you see players' kids, like DeAngelo Hall's. But not parents). There are signs about no visitors in the locker room. I don't know if it's a big deal or not. I do know it's different. I do know it was not a good week for it to happen from appearance sake.
After the loss—Washington's third in a row—Griffin Jr. came into the locker room when it was opened to reporters and had a lengthy discussion with his son at his locker stall. He also accompanied Griffin III to his post game news conference and returned to the locker room afterward to continue the conversation.
Griffin Jr.'s presence was noteworthy because of how rare it is for a family member to enter the locker room after a game.
There's a lot to digest in those little snippets but I'll save you some work and tell you what's not there for digesting: a reason why it's weird or worth noting at all other than it is, apparently, inherently so. At least one speculated that teammates might not have liked it. I guess everyone was too busy noting how weird it was to see a player's parent in the locker room to ask any of them. There are also signs saying "no visitors," notable exceptions being made for celebrities and DeAngelo Hall's kids only.
When you have to explain why something is noteworthy, though it might not be as noteworthy as you think, it is tailor-made for the bullshit "distractions" racket so many traffic in. As with most distractions foisted on a team or player, it has been addressed. Robert Griffin, Jr. was checking on his son because he thought he was injured.
"He showed up, I was shocked that he was there, but he meant no harm," Griffin said. "Anybody out there that's going after my dad needs to back up. That is my father. I will protect my family and he served 21 years in the military. I know that's not an excuse for anything that he does, but he's not overstepping his bounds. So I hope that people will respect that and back off.
"He asked me if I was OK and I said, 'Yeah, I'm all right.' And me and him just talked and that's it."
RGIII got his ass kicked Monday night and is coming back from a torn ACL. It was a serious injury he incurred playing while already injured because either he or his coach (or more likely both) has his priorities all out of whack when it comes to his health. All of that is probably rattling around in the back of his father's mind and could explain why he wanted to check on his son's health. Hell, Mike Shanahan has since said that jobs are on the line because at 3-8, Washington stinks. Maybe Robert Griffin, Jr. just wants to hear from his son's own mouth that he's OK before jeopardizing the rest of his career for a shit team.
Good news is, next time RGII goes inside the locker room it won't be as unusual, so maybe someone can ask him what he's doing there.
Photo credit: Getty