Washington’s latest hero, RG111 is now benched after trying to play past the knee injury he had sustained prior to Sunday’s game against the Seahawks- and he and his team are paying a hefty price for the bad choices that led him here. But whose bad choices are to blame?
The buck passing, double talk and half truths started almost immediately after Griffin hobbled off the field on Sunday. Coach Shanahan told reporters that “…when you have got the belief in the guy and the doctor is telling you that he is OK to go in - then you have got to do what you think is right.” Shanahan then emphasized that Griffin had been authorized to return to play by Dr. Andrews after his December 9th injury, and he added that he spoke to team doctors on four occasions during the game Sunday who assured him that his quarterback was OK to continue. However, Dr Andrews quickly contradicted Shanahan’s statement by saying he had not authorized Griffin’s return to the game, and one of the team doctors who was on the field Sunday denied he had examined the player and cleared him as Shanahan had asserted. Only RG111 himself has come out and said that he insisted on playing and told his coach that he was OK to continue- however, everyone knows that a 22 year old with a history of risk taking needs to be managed by others who are paid to know best.
It’s a clear case of he said/he said. So who is telling the truth and who should take responsibility for this mess is still a question mark. However, if we listen carefully to the nonverbal messages of all the players involved, the answer becomes clearer.
The coach’s first response was defensive as he tried to pass the ball to the doctors and even the player himself. His tone was anxious, his manner halting- and he seemed to be trying too hard to convince himself it was the right call. He denied having doubts and only suggested he might have second thoughts later. Then in the days that followed, Shanahan was vague and in denial as he reported on RG111’s injury. He hedged on the information he shared and communicated a desire to hide the truth or at least soften the blow he knew was coming. All the while, the owner, other managers, and the team physicians have been very quiet. Shanahan alone will be carrying the responsibility for this decision and his nonverbal communications have been saying he has known that from the moment his star collapsed on the field.