Over the last month, America has been having a long-overdue conversation about race, justice and equality in our society. At NBC Sports Washington, we wanted to further the dialogue by providing a forum for DMV-area sports figures who are thought leaders on these important issues.
NBC Sports Washington is launching the third part of an ongoing video series entitled Race in America. This week, Robert Griffin III joined Chris Miller along with Baltimore Ravens teammate Calais Campbell and William & Mary football head coach Mike London for the last of three roundtable discussions to share his experiences, thoughts and how he’s using all platforms in this fight. To watch the full interview, click here.
Back in 2012, all eyes were squarely on Robert Griffin III as he made his much-hyped jump to the NFL. Flashbulbs went off as Griffin (wearing burgundy and gold socks) walked the red carpet at Radio City Music Hall in New York City before being selected 2nd overall by Washington, a team that dealt multiple future first-round picks to move up and select him.
Yes, he entered the league as a Heisman Trophy winner from a football powerhouse at Baylor, but still questions surrounded Griffin as began his professional career. Those questions lingered despite an incredibly successful debut season that saw him win NFL Rookie of the Year honors and lead Washington to an NFC East title.
Race has always been a topic Griffin has had to address, dating all the way back to 2012 when he told reporters, “I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don't have to be defined by that.”
On ‘Race in America,’ a panel hosted by NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller, Griffin joined fellow Raven Calais Campbell and William & Mary football coach Mike London to continue that same conversation that has followed him his entire career.
“Sometimes as an African-American quarterback I think to myself, ‘Man, what if I was white,” Griffin said. “What if I didn’t have to deal with some of the stereotypes that come with being an African-American quarterback?”
RACE IN AMERICA: WATCH THE FULL ROUNDTABLE HERE
Griffin threw for over 4,200 yards and completed over 72% of his passes during his 2011 Heisman campaign. He followed that up by throwing 20 TD compared to just 5 INT in his rookie season. Still, the questions and criticism persisted.
“When you’re able to go out and put up the type of numbers that I was in college and also in the pros, that doesn’t lead to someone saying those things about you if you’re a white quarterback,” Griffin said. “As an African-American quarterback, you don’t really get the benefit of the doubt in those situations.”
Sometimes we just wish we wouldn’t have to defend ourselves against racism and prejudice from the second we wake up— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) June 25, 2020
Griffin has taken advantage of his platform and social reach to point out the constant struggle, not only for Black professional athletes, but the entire Black community. He recently posted “Sometimes we just wish we wouldn’t have to defend ourselves against racism and prejudice from the second we wake up,” a tweet he expounded upon during the ‘Race in America’ roundtable.
“When you talk about someone who’s just waking up not in the NFL, every time they step out the door as an African-American male they’re deemed a threat to society,” Griffin said.
“Video after video after video after video of people of color being mistreated, some old some new, you just wonder like, ‘Man, is there ever going to be a time where we can wake up and not have to be subjected to that type of treatment, that type of profiling, from the second we literally open our eyes.”
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