Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Evolution of the Media and the DC Sports Fan Regarding Player Injury, and Some Perspective on RG3

By. Mike Baxter (@sportsyack)

Fall 2012
Three's a Crowd
Nats GM Mike Rizzo gets crucified for essentially following doctor's orders- looking out for the best interest of the player, and shutting down Stephen Strasburg in a continued rehab from Tommy John surgery. The Nats' heart breaking NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals allows the criticism to hit a deafening pitch.

January 2013
Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III tears up knee in 4th quarter playoff loss to Seattle. The overwhelming opinion by fans and media alike, is that bad guy coach Mike Shanahan should've taken Griffin out of the game earlier-specifically in the first half. The idea, presumably- to protect their franchise quarterback, looking out for his best interest of the player.

Summer 2013
Media, fans, and Griffin- in a shit storm of controversy following Griffin's press conference on Monday, in what will undoubtedly be a 4 week conversation. Mike Shanahan trying to keep the vultures at bay, as he, along with Dr. James Andrews, GM Bruce Allen, and presumably RG3 himself, will determine if Griffin's knee will be ready enough to start against Philadelphia, in the Monday night season opener in early September.

Apparently the in the best interest of the player aspect of it all is case by case? I don't quite understand, folks. I do know that as the pressure to start Griffin by Griffin himself, the fans, and an always looking for spin cycle material media, will reach a boiling over the top level by the last week in August. And God help us if Griffin doesn't start come Week 1, but you can rest assured that Shanahan will be portrayed as the bad guy once again, if that ends up being the case.

Not to be lost on this, when Griffin's opinion of when he should play is factored into the equation, is what Griffin said to the media immediately after his injury back in January.

"I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there," Griffin said. "But every time you get on the field, you're putting yourself on the line."

So what is it, people? Are we looking out for the best interest of the player, or are we not? And who is Captaining the ship? The coaches and GMs, or the player whose head (per the ever incessant fans and media) has- in my opinion, swelled up beyond proportion?

Are we going to consider the twice blown out knee of our 23 year old superhero? A superhero who (also) seems to have gotten a little too buddy-buddy with our commingling owner, who by my educated guess- based on 14 years of "trends", is hell bent on Griffin starting that Week 1 game.  An owner, who by the way, in 14 years of ownership, has just four winning seasons, six seasons of double digit losses, has just two playoff wins, and is on on his 7th coach. Is that the winning combo we're putting our chips on?

Or are we going to consider the word of a coach who is a proven winner? A coach who took over an absolute disaster here in DC, and in just his 3rd season removed from taking on that disaster, led his team to a 10-6 record and an NFC East Division title. And will we consider the advice of this Dr. James Andrews guy? He might know a thing or two about injuries, specifically to knees. I'm pretty sure his opinion should trump our 23 year old superhero's opinion, who even though he was knocked out of 3 games in his rookie campaign, knows whats best for him relative to injuries, as we move forward towards the 2013 campaign.

Media, fans, Bevis...please just slow down to 55, stop the excess noise, allow those in authority to make decisions, and then wake me up on September 9th.

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