RGIII And Celebrity Overkill

Former Eagles signal caller Donovan McNabb often gets a bad rap. He was underrated with Philly, chucking for over 33,000 yards during an 11-year Eagles career and leading them to a Super Bowl. He’s survived the NFL trenches and lives to tell about it.

According to McNabb, dudes like Russell Wilson value his opinion.

Others take whatever he says with a grain of salt, because at times, McNabb seems bitter that he never received the adulation that cats like Robert Griffin III, Wilson and Cam Newton do, now that QBs who can freak a spread offense are in fashion.

Still, one thing McNabb’s never been is a dummy. And maybe the advice he’s recently offered about RGIII’s media-infested lifestyle has some validity.

In an interview with The Washington Post, McNabb said Griffin’s recent actions might start to become “a circus, a sideshow.”

“It’s too much right now; it’s just too much,” McNabb told the Washington Post from his Arizona home. “The Adidas commercials, going out and enjoying the life of a young, famous NFL quarterback. I understand RG has a lot of stuff going on.

“But if you’re coming off ACL surgery, you don’t need to be having a press conference at OTAs. Every week? Really, it takes away from the focus of what those sessions are supposed to be about: the team.”

McNabb also didn’t agree with RGIII’s pop’s warning Redskins HC Mike Shanahan, via The Post and WJLA (Channel 7), that his son needs to pass more. “‘He doesn’t have to be a runner as much as I saw last year,’ said RGII…‘I’m his dad – I want him throwing that football, a lot. A lot.’” 

Of course, McNabb was blasted on social media by people who felt he was grandstanding. After all, the six-time pro bowler already reached out to the young gunner last season and got shut down.

Others think McNabb’s just another sucker hating on a guy who has the world by the sacks. Who wouldn’t want to be the NFL’s new darling?

McNabb’s also been accused of being a phony. Maybe this is just a way of keeping his name relevant for future high-profile opportunities. And as usual, the nail-in-the-coffin reason that a lot of heads aren’t checking for McNabb’s comments is that he’s not a champion.

No matter how sagacious McNabb’s offerings may be, most of the NFL community is like, “Kill that noise, son and go vomit.”

McNabb doesn’t see it that way. He’s simply trying to offer Chocolate City’s savior some brotherly advice. McNabb’s been a hot, young QB and the popping face of an NFC East franchise. He’s also black, so he obviously feels he has a lot in common with RGIII.

Problem is, RGIII’s been trying to distance himself from being labeled since he came into the league. He doesn’t equate his blackness with commonality, past skin color. He has a modern view on race and walks to the beat of his own drum. Frankly, he doesn’t feel he needs McNabb’s two cents. 

Either way, RGIII has bigger fish to fry. As much as he craves pressure, it’s got to be a whirlwind for this kid – with all of the Hollywood distractions – intense rehabbing of ACL and LCL injuries and preparing to lead a thirsty and increasingly impatient Redskins Nation. The daily media parade could wear thin on the team if he’s not on the field, or not winning.

Maybe McNabb is right. If football, not celebrity, is RGIII’s main priority, then scaling back on the PR wouldn’t be the worst thing. At a certain point, we’d like to see him mature, string together some All-Pro seasons, and determine who he is as a player. It’s hard to be totally focused on world-class performance and juggle the colossal burdens of celebrity. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.