In D.C., there is a lot of love spread about for Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. And he has not played a real game yet. But he’s a black quarterback in Chocolate City. An ideal mix.
Doug Williams was revered as the Redskins’ quarterback and elevated into iconic status when he led the team to the 1987 Super Bowl title. Jason Campbell came along a few years ago and was on the brink of being a central figure before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. In came Donovan McNabb, and the city was on fire. But McNabb flamed out.
The last two years have featured the appropriately named Rex Grossman at the helm. Not good.
Griffin appears to be different. He’s gained admiration and respect before he has proved he can be a star quarterback. Why? Part of it is that Chocolate City wants him to succeed, and not just because it loves the Redskins so much.
The other part is that Griffin has displayed a likeable persona, a humility, a confidence.
Former Mayor Marion Barry, who served four terms as the head of Washington, D.C. – despite being convicted and imprisoned for drug possession – sees a little of himself in Griffin. The part of himself that allowed him to remain beloved even after his troubles.
“Everybody is excited,” Barry said to Yahoo! Sports. “He’s got that flair about him. Even that name itself: RG3, you know?”
Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, who is now a D.C. radio show host said to Yahoo! Sports: “They call it the Chocolate City. I think ever since Doug Williams there’s something that’s been clear: this city has enjoyed and loved having a great African-American quarterback.”
Griffin won’t touch the subject. “There are two things you don’t talk about: politics and race,” he said
Williams, the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, spoke eloquently about his position as a black quarterback in the NFL in the past. And he said he spoke to Griffin about doing that job in D.C.
“I did have a chance to speak to Robert Griffin and what I told him is: ‘This city will embrace you,’ ” said Williams, who is the head coach at Grambling in Louisiana. “I think they will have a little patience with him and if he does what I think he will do they will wrap their arms around him. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to win there. The city of D.C. just embraces you as one of its own.”