It’s all but a foregone conclusion that Baylor QB Robert Griffin III will be the second overall selection in next week’s NFL Draft, heading to the Washington Redskins. In recent days, a report surfaced in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel which claimed two NFL scouts had reservations about RG III and that perhaps he was not receiving the scrutiny he deserved in regards to his play on the field and suggestions that he may be a selfish player. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports suggests that this criticism might be motivated by race.
Mr. Freeman starts his piece off this morning with the following, ” So here we go again. Another draft, another franchise quarterback who happens to be black, portrayed as fake and selfish. Your turn under the racial microscope, Robert Griffin III. Congratulations!”
Racial microscope? We are heading into the last few days before the start of the draft. Teams throw out bones to reporters to create stories about players, hoping they will slide in the NFL draft. Griffin is not going to slide past the Redskins at number two overall, but to throw out the race card in possible criticism over RG III? Did Super Bowl winning QB Phil Simms not criticize Stanford QB Andrew Luck in recent months by saying he didn’t think he could make all the throws required in the NFL?
Mr. Freeman is upset because the two unnamed scouts (unnamed is always a red flag for me) compared Griffin to Michael Vick and Cam Newton, both black quarterbacks. Excuse me, but those are two quarterbacks which warrant a comparison. Both are highly mobile, possess great speed and throw the ball down field with regularity. This has nothing to do with race. Seriously. What other quarterback are you going to compare Griffin to in the league currently? Ben Roethlisberger? Matt Ryan? Joe Flacco? Tom Brady? Peyton Manning? The list continues.
Mr. Freeman is upset that the comparison wasn’t made between Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Griffin. Perhaps Freeman missed the NFL Network’s draft coverage in the last week when analysts compared Griffin to former San Francisco 49ers QB Steve Young.
The writer continues to say that, ” All potential draft picks get the once over by scouts and media. It’s part of the business. But black quarterbacks aren’t just picked over. They’re attacked.”
I disagree with that summation. All potential, especially first-round draft picks are given more than a once over. Hours of tape is watched on potential prospects. The players are poked and prodded at the NFL Combine. NFL teams interview players which have played with and friends of the player(s) they are targeting. This is a business with millions of dollars on the line in regards to top picks.
Mr. Freeman is a CBS NFL Insider according to his title on the website, he should know better. He should realize the misinformation campaigns that teams undertake leading up to the NFL Draft is nothing new. He should also be wary of unnamed scouts being quoted in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, of all places.
Are there questions surrounding Robert Griffin III and his ability to play at the next level? Yes. There are questions surrounding Andrew Luck and every other player which will be selected in next week’s draft. None of those questions have anything to do with skin color and neither do the questions surrounding Griffin.
I look forward to seeing Griffin on the field next season.
Filed under: NFL