Ah, a fine and ferocious debate about policy and its far-reaching implications.
This is, after all, Washington D.C.
But in this case the debate is not about a presidential election or the so-called fiscal cliff or gun-control measures.
Nope, this one’s the same one we had several months ago, and the same one being discussed now – albeit on a different platform. Yep, we’re talking about Stephen Strasburg and Robert Griffin III, without a doubt this city’s two most revered figures in professional sports. And the similarities are striking both in tone and context.
They both like to pout. My 6-year-old is quite adept at pouting, as well, but the difference is that he doesn’t work for an organization that has invested millions of dollars in him.
When the Nationals shut down Strasburg’s surgically repaired arm last fall in the name of caution, he was none-too-happy about it despite knowing it was coming. He, well, pouted, however briefly.
When the Redskins shut down Griffin’s strained knee ligament last weekend in the name of caution, he was none-too-happy about it despite knowing it was coming. He pouted, however subtly, in his postgame media briefing.
And he continues to do so. During his regularly scheduled press availability Wednesday, Griffin got a tad testy when asked about the possibility of the Redskins giving his knee another week to fully heal and go with backup Kirk Cousins in Sunday’s key NFC East game at Philadelphia against the Eagles.
“I’m ready to play whenever they want me to play,” Griffin said. “So if it’s this week, next week, couple of weeks, whatever they say goes. I’ll be ready.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Such an attitude supposedly embodies the competitive will of both Strasburg and Griffin. Of course they want to play. They’re tough, they’re competitors, it’s in their nature and blah, blah, blah.
Certainly, Strasburg in the rotation would have helped the Nats during the playoffs. But suppose something had gone “pop” in an arm that was still relatively tender? As it is, Strasburg will head into Spring Training with what presumably is a fully healed arm, and Nats fans happily can pick up right where they left off last season. General manager Mike Rizzo made the right and prudent call.
Which brings us to RGIII. The Eagles are bad. Really bad. 4-10 bad. It’s a huge game but it doesn’t appear to be one that couldn’t successfully be managed by the rookie Cousins, given his play the previous two games.
Griffin seems to – grudgingly – understand the obvious logic.
“But as a player, I’m not going to say sitting out a game is the best thing for me,” he said. “That’s just not how you operate or how you think.”
Think again. The Eagles aren’t remotely close to any team the Redskins will face should they reach the playoffs.
Think about the bigger picture.
It says here the Redskins should give Griffin another week to fully heal.
He won’t like it.
So be it.
ABC7’s Skip Wood covered the NFL for the better part of 15 years while at USA Today.