Why Everyone’s Talking About RGIII’s Facebook ‘Sleeve’ Comment

by Chris 'Blue Shorts' Lingebach
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Robert Griffin III has much to improve upon following a dismal sophomore slump. (credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Robert Griffin III has much to improve upon following a dismal sophomore slump. (credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Chris Lingebach Chris Lingebach
Chris Lingebach is a writer for CBSDC.com, 1067thefandc.com, and blogs...
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Robert Griffin III left a comment on a photo he recently posted on Facebook, explaining it’s not his wish for every little thing he does to make national headlines, and it most assuredly make national headlines.

This week, everyone will be talking about it.

I’m here to tell you why.

But first, here’s what Griffin wrote on Facebook:

“I usually don’t do this because everyone will have an opinion on what you do or don’t do. But to answer your question,”Griffin wrote in response to his own photo, which depicts him diving headfirst for a first down.

“I wear a sleeve because….well the same reason Pierre Garcon wears a fang mouthpiece-S. Moss wears a hand warmer when it’s 70 degrees-Will Montgomery wears elbow pads-Alfred Morris wears shin guards-London Fletcher doesn’t wear sleeves in below freezing weather-Adam Carriker does bicep curls and tricep extensions before a game-Chris Baker dances before every game in the locker room-Logan Paulsen does 2 handed spikes when he celebrates touchdowns-Chris Chester does ninja spins to block people-Some guys wear sleeves & some don’t-Some guys wear wristbands & some don’t-Etc Etc

You see WE do these things because they make us comfortable. Not to be different. Been wearing a sleeve and glove for 10 years.
You see WE are a team.

You think I want it to be national news that I visit a beach? Or shop at Walmart? Or wore red shoes instead if green yesterday? Well I don’t. I’m “striving” for greatness just like my fellow teammates do. The “attention” that comes with being a QB in the league is what you are referring to. All the press conferences and talking to the media? Mandated by the league to have a press conference every week during the season and during team activities during the off-season. Oh wait, you must be talking about the Commercials? Right? Oh ok so what was the deal with those in 2012? WE won the division. So in 2013 when WE get knocked down, and finish last it’s because of the commercials? If that is your reasoning I have nothing more to say. WE will get back up. That is what matters. I hope I answered your question well enough.And that you keep supporting the team.

HTTR!!!

The thing about Robert’s comment is, it immediately fell into the ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ category, before he even pressed post.
Griffin is, in a sense, lowering himself to the masses here.

He’s far too experienced, and too savvy, with media not to know that whatever he does, says, or even alludes to saying, will be parsed and scrutinized from every angle until the next thing he says or does steals the spotlight. And so it goes until the end of his run as the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins.

Thus, he wants this to become a story. There’s no other logical conclusion that can be drawn. Even if it’s his frustration with the media’s over-reactionary response to his every move that he wishes to come through.

To a much a greater degree, Griffin is experiencing the same
living a parallel life to another young superstar this town obsesses over — Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.

To emphasize my point, I’ll direct you to comments Harper made in late August, when the majority of media attention had moved from the struggling Nationals, and onto Griffin and his recovery from offseason knee surgery, as the Redskins prepared to enter the 2013 NFL season.

“We’re still in it. Having the support is really going to help us in this last month, and I think fans know that,” Harper told Comcast Sports Net, with the Nationals one game above .500 and trailing the Reds by 7 games for the last Wild Card spot, and fan attendance dropping off a cliff, at the time. “Guys feed off the crowd and feed off the fans. They’ve got a whole winter to watch RGIII. I think we’re all looking forward to that, but we could possibly get into the playoffs and go farther from there.”

So Griffin and Harper, in some respects, are living parallel lives.

They’ve seen the best this town can offer when they were at their best in their first seasons in D.C., and they’ve seen the worst, when they were at their worst in their second seasons in their respective sports.

The distinct difference between the two, besides that football inherently commands more attention in this town, is in the number of games they play.

Baseball is a slow burn; a 162-game grind. Teams themselves are prone to streaks, and when they’re on top of the standings, it seems nothing can bring them down. When they’re in a rut, maybe having rattled off eight straight losses, the likelihood of the team pulling themselves out seems unfathomable.

But football — er, the NFL — is a self-sustaining beast; a 16-week burst of energy that, if the team you follow isn’t playoff-bound, is here after Labor Day and gone before the new year.

That fact alone compels media to juice the NFL lemon for all its worth. But then there’s the issue of the franchise quarterback.

For Robert Griffin III, better or worse, that attention doesn’t go away when the season does. It just continues into January, subsides only slightly when the Capitals make their perennial playoff push, begins to ramp up as his teammates trickle into to OTAs, but still with a limit as the Nationals command the bulk of the headlines in the summer months, then gets fully restored, violently and swiftly, by the time preseason rolls around.

It’s preposterous to think something as silly as a sleeve Griffin wears — as unique and exclusive to his body in all its polyester wonderment as it may be — could be the cause for any story.

But when Robert Griffin III leaves so much as a Facebook comment, in this town — a town in which a growing number of media outlets employ hundreds, if not thousands of employees to cover sports 12 months out of the year — he is, in effect, giving everyone consent to do exactly that.

It’s not perfect, but it’s reality.

And for those who are of the mind to think, ‘I hate the media. I wish they’d just leave him alone,’ I’ll remind you of this fundamental core of economics: Supply and demand.

To take this one step further, demand, in some instances, creates supply.

You — the reader, listener, viewer, and fan — the consumer, have asked for it, by creating a demand.

So why will everyone this week be discussing a comment Griffin made on Facebook, in response to comments others made about a sleeve?

To put it bluntly, it’s not us, it’s you, and Griffin for responding.

He has since responded. Again.

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