An RG III Win for the Redskins Renders Rob Parker an Irrelevant Footnote

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Rob Parker’s ridiculous query as to whether Robert Griffin III was a “cornball brother” is evidence of the inherent stupidity of Parker himself. Anyone who’d seen Parker on ESPN’s First Take or read his writing before knew what he was prior to his insipid comments about Griffin. Now that stupidity is known to the masses. Parker became a national name through the cheapest of means and the attention he coveted has resulted in widespread awareness that he’s clueless about sports and uses controversy to stand out from the crowd. That he’s doing so as one black man questioning the racial bona fides of another black man is made worse by Griffin being a worthy role model for the community on and off the field even if he might be considered a “cornball brother” by Parker or anyone else.

The NFL rules of today are designed to protect the quarterback and prevent the “lessons” that went on years ago and had to be endured by Troy Aikman, Steve Young, John Elway and Hall of Famers from 10 years ago and beyond. They have also served to let rookies like Griffin and Andrew Luck enter the league and produce rather than struggle and be benched as they failed to learn quickly enough or took too brutal a beating.

For Griffin to be diminished by someone like Parker and have loyalty to his background called into question because he might or might not have a white fiancée; because he might or might not be a Republican; because there’s a lot Parker doesn’t know, is more despicable than what Parker actually said. Parker, if he wanted answers to his questions, should’ve had the courage to ask Griffin directly rather than use it as a topic for a show. But then he might’ve gotten an actual answer and that’s the last thing he wanted because he doesn’t care about Griffin’s personal life or his politics. He was using him.

Let’s say all of Parker’s questions (presented in the tone of accusation) received a response in the affirmative. Would it be reason to criticize someone who graduated from Baylor University in three years and may or may not be a Republican and may or may not have a white fiancée? What would he have to do to not be a “cornball brother?”

Griffin’s story, unlike that of another Washington phenom Bryce Harper, doesn’t have the phoniness crafted to sell it as someone “special” in every aspect of his life. Harper’s tale, including having passed the GED without studying, strikes of creative public relations nonsense. Griffin, in opposition to Parker’s passive aggressive insinuations and the faux storyline surrounding Harper, appears real. The Harper story is destructive because it puts readers and influential youngsters into a position of feeling unworthy because they couldn’t pass the test in similar fashion and fail to see the reality that it’s likely not even true. Griffin should be held up as an example and not used for selfish reasons by a hack seeking notoriety.

Griffin’s brilliant season and star presence is singlehandedly changing the culture of the Washington Redskins. Whereas they were a dysfunctional mess with accompanying coaching changes, front office restructurings, past-their-prime star players signed to outrageous contracts by owner Dan Snyder to piece together a winner without a payoff, they’ve turned into a place where players will want to go specifically to play with Griffin.

Parker asserting that Griffin is not “down with the cause,” or “not one of us,” or “he’s kind of black, but he’s not really like the kind of guy you really want to hang out with,” and the firestorm that followed is missing the true point of contention that Parker was denigrating someone he should’ve been crediting. Parker was indulging in inaccurate armchair sociology. Would it be negative for Griffin to use his own mind and beliefs to come to a political affiliation? To decide whom to marry? To shun going with the crowd to fit in due to skin color or other factors of birth that are only relevant because someone like Parker brings them up?

On the field, players looking at the Redskins as a destination aren’t going there to hang out with Griffin away from the football field. If they’re looking for someone with whom to party or to go where the girls are, they can go to play with the annual team that signs the useless journeyman Matt Leinart.

Griffin can lead the Redskins to the playoffs on Sunday. That will go further in garnering positive perception than being “down with the cause.” Winning and leading can attract other players to want to join him in Washington. None of his teammates or the Redskins fans will care about his personal life or politics. They’ll be riding along with him and not using him as the equivalent of a promotional gimmick as Parker did. It will also quiet the footnote to Griffin’s season overtly referencing Parker’s incendiary and unnecessary attack on one who should be celebrated for what he is and not ridiculed for what, in the view of one talentless face in the crowd with a forum like Parker, says he is or should be.


The Yankees’ Closer Decision Is Made For Them

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You remember quarterback Matt Leinart, don’t you?

The former number 1 draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals and college superstar who has shown neither the aptitude nor the desire to be a starting quarterback in the NFL finally got his chance to play for a team—the Houston Texans—that had a very real Super Bowl chance.

Leinart took over for the injured Matt Schaub with the Texans at 7-3, heading for a division title and with the smothering defense that could’ve given them a conference championship. Leinart started his first game on November 27, 2011 and began by completing 10 of his first 13 passes with a touchdown. Then he was tackled and broke his collarbone on the play. His season was over.

This isn’t to imply that Leinart was happy to be injured, but given his reputation, he’s put forth the impression that he prefers partying to playing; that being the backup was just easier and safer.

Everyone needs an adequate number 2 and many times, the number 1 doesn’t want someone standing behind him who may or may not be holding a knife.

Leinart is content as a backup.

(Note: Yesterday, Leinart signed with the Oakland Raiders to be the number 2 behind Carson Palmer.)

We’ll never know whether David Robertson was overwhelmed with the prospect of replacing a legend as the closer for a team that judges any season that doesn’t end with a World Series win as an abject failure. But now he’s on the disabled list with a strained oblique and Rafael Soriano is taking over—officially—as the Yankees’ closer.

It’s the move they should’ve made from the beginning.

Was Robertson ever named the closer to replace Mariano Rivera or were the Yankees giving him a try before committing to him?

He’s being referred to as “Yankees’ closer” in the news reports detailing the injury, but their actions made it appear that he was taking over without it being explicitly said.

In reality, this makes the Yankees’ decision easier and there won’t be an embarrassing demotion or perception that Robertson was unable to handle the job. At the time of Rivera’s injury, Soriano was the preferable choice to take over as the closer because he’s done it before and Robertson was far more valuable pitching the more important innings of the seventh and eighth. Making Robertson the closer was the chain-of-command maneuver in a Vice Presidential succession sort of way, but that doesn’t make it right. In the games that Soriano has closed, we’ve seen the pitcher that the Yankees paid all that money for. His body language, demeanor and conviction in his pitches are all entirely different than they were as the seventh inning man. He looks more comfortable because he is more comfortable. Yes, it’s mental; yes, it’s ego; yes, it’s missing the point that the ninth inning is, many times, not the inning in which the actual “save” is recorded, but these aren’t robots, they’re people. Soriano likes closing and was good at it. Robertson was good at being the set-up man.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Once Robertson returns, the Yankees would be foolish to make him the closer again—that’s if they ever did in the first place.