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Thursday, September 21, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We didn’t need Santana Moss to tell us that Robert Griffin III gloated about his role in the firing of Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan four years ago.

RG3 left a long trail of narcissistic evidence behind that made the case before Moss — one of the most respected Redskins in town — told 106.7 The Fan host Chad Dukes this week that the quarterback boasted about his influence in owner Dan Snyder’s decision to fire Shanahan at the end of the 2013 season.


“Before you know it, RG’s not playing,” Moss said, referring to the final three games of 2013, when Shanahan benched Griffin. “I’m not sure if that was his whole plan, but when the whole thing went about, we hear that Mike Shanahan’s not coming back the next year, then we hear the quarterback like, ‘Hey. Mm hmm.’


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“Like, basically saying that you got me out of here not playing last year, the last few games, then that’s what happens. You get fired.”

Moss was referring to the locker room talk, but Griffin couldn’t help himself but to boast publicly about Shanahan’s firing. You just had to pay close attention to what he said. That was hard, considering all the hash tags, but one of them —“The Movement” — was clearly his attempt to let everyone know that Shanahan was history and now he, RG3, was in charge.

“We’ve got some new faces here, a lot of excitement,” Griffin told CSM Mid-Atlantic in 2014. “And we’ll actually get a chance to play the brand of football that we want to play, determined by the players, and Coach Jay Gruden’s going to allow us to do that. So whenever you see me tweet #TheMovement, it’s just saying what is the movement? What do we want to be known for?

“And I’ve talked to my teammates about it,” Griffin went on. “We decide what our identity is. We’re going to play whatever kind of brand of football that we want to play, and that’s part of our movement, and we’re excited about presenting that to the fans this upcoming season.”

You don’t get any more boastful — or arrogant — than declaring that Griffin, not the departed and unmentioned ex-head coach, is going to decide what “brand” of football the team is going to play.

Griffin may have said, “We,” but he always got his pronouns a little confused. He would mean “Me.”

Don’t think so? Here’s what he told The Washington Post in 2014.

“As a quarterback, my identity is I am the leader of this team, I am the guy that everybody looks to when things are going bad,” Griffin said. “I am the guy that delivers. I am the guy that everyone on the team offense, defense, special teams — when it’s crunch time, they’re not looking at Trent Williams, they’re not looking at Alfred Morris. They’re looking at Robert Griffin III and that is an identity and position I accept. You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe, nobody else will, and that’s what I do for the guys around me, for my family. I give them that belief that at the end of the day, things are going to work out, and I don’t think their belief is misplaced, even with us being 3-13 last year. We will be a better football team this year. That is my identity.”

Me, me me — I am the team. I am in charge.

He even managed to work in a third-person reference to himself.

So why, after Griffin has long since departed Redskins Park and can’t even find a job in football, do we still care about RG3?

What else is there? What else has there been?

There’s a scene in the Robert Redford film “Brubaker” where inmates who have been in solitary confinement for years are allowed outside for the first time, but they are given sunglasses so their eyes won’t be damaged by the sun.

Griffin’s historic 2012 rookie season was, for Redskins fans, that moment where they were let out of solitary confinement to see the sun for the first time in years — except they were not provided sunglasses for protection. Ever since then, their vision has been damaged.

It was such a brief moment of remarkable hope in the midst of the years of despair in the Dan Snyder era that to simply “move on” from it — even five years later — is to almost deny it happened.

So of course when Griffin, the savior who unlocked the solitary confinement doors, resurfaces in their lives, it rekindles memories of those moments in the sun — and anger about the darkness that has followed since.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.


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