Most of you are tuned into this already, but today Mike Wise from The Washington Post asked RG3 about the racial implications of the name Redskins. It was completely out of left field, irrelevant to the flow of the presser, and obviously a loaded question, which Robert thankfully shirked aside. I wrote a bit about it, and I hope you'll read.
by Kevin Klein
Mike Wise is a sports journalist for The Washington Post. A sports journalist who I have never been able to get a proper read on.
Last year, after making a once-in-a-blue-moon appearance at a Washington Capitals game, Mike wrote a piece about the team that I fervently disagreed with. I felt it to be shallow, and obviously written from the perspective of an under informed journalist who had a deadline to meet, and was covering the team simply because they were the only thing on the journalistic menu that night. No passion, no vigor. Just flat words, designed for controversy.
Mike had the good grace to defend his article to me via Twitter, which I appreciated, regardless of our differing views. In the weeks that followed, he wrote several pieces that resonated soundly with me. They were full of wonderful, emotional writing, with compelling perspectives and sound research. Granted, none of this writing was about the Caps, but still it cemented my respect.
Then today happened.
After Wednesday practice at Redskins Park, Robert Griffin III took the podium for his weekly press conference. But this time around, the anticipation was greater than usual. After all, the star quarterback missed last week with an injury. The team has fought its way to the division lead and holds the inside lane to the playoffs. Most expect Griffin to take the field this weekend against the Eagles, but the Redskins have remained competitively coy regarding their quarterback’s knee.
Wednesday marked the first time Griffin spoke to the media since the Redskins’ victory over Cleveland three days ago. The press conference was a light-hearted one, as Griffin fielded questions about his knee, and though his answers were thinly veiled— not revealing details— it quickly became apparent that he expected to be back under center for this Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. Reporters asked about Griffin’s playoff optimism. They asked after the team’s 3-6 start, and Griffin’s thought process as a captain as his team faced that adversity. They asked about fellow rookie Kirk Cousin’s performance against the Browns, and they asked about his silly haircut (which Cousins himself addressed during a presser of his own).
That’s when Wise decided to pipe up, affecting the lofty mood of the media room with jaw-clenching awkwardness like a process server showing up at the door with a subpoena.
“You had to, um, unfairly negotiate some racial, um, barrier landmines lately,” Wise led into his question. “Have you thought about, um, what it’s like to play for a team named the Redskins, since many American Indians believe the term to be derogatory?”
Wise was referring to now-suspended ESPN anchor Rob Parker’s statements that, among other things, Griffin is a “cornball brother”, and because he has a white fiancé, is not “down with the cause”, like other African Americans.
As Wise clumsily stumbled his own question, Griffin’s eyes widened, likely realizing where the question was heading. Griffin is, of course, as silvertongued an athlete to ever grace the Washingtonian area. But to this spectator, his visage seemed to channel the following sentiment: Is this guy really about to ask me this ****ing question?
Click here to read more (it gets more inflammatory...)