WHEN SHOULD AN ATHLETE SAY NO?

A HOBBLED RG3

A HOBBLED RG3

Interesting that the discussion coming out of yesterday’s NFC Wildcard game between the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks (24-14, Seattle) revolves around ‘Skins rookie QB Robert Griffin III’s decision to start, and then stay in the game after it became apparent to anyone with working optic nerves that he wasn’t the same RG3 who so captivated the NFL and the nation’s capital this season with his combination of lightning foot speed and accurate throwing arm.

Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner out of Baylor University didn’t even need to get hit to illustrate – quite painfully in the first quarter – that his injured right knee was not only not healed, but instead fully compromised, thereby robbing him of the very skill-set that made him such a potent threat.  Well, it was apparent to everyone, it seems, except Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan.

“Robert said to me, ‘Coach, there’s a difference between injuries and being hurt. I can guarantee I’m hurting right now, give me a chance to win this football game, because I guarantee I’m not injured.’,” Shanahan told Yahoo Sports. “That was enough for me.”

Regardless of where you come down on the “He shouldn’t have been playing or kept playing” continuum, what is also quite apparent is the vast difference in mentality between a team sport like football, where there is something beyond the self to play for – as muddled as that sometimes gets – and the sport of athletics which has reduced itself to the individual athlete representing nothing but him or herself. Continue reading