Robert Griffin III Is Speaking Up And Doesn't Plan to Stop

QB Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III is training hard and running daily, but he won't run from speaking on social issues.

Between his throwing sessions with Ravens wide receivers Devin Duvernay, James Proche and Antoine Wesley in Dallas, Griffin has been one of the team's most active participants on social media since the death of George Floyd.

The Ravens' backup quarterback feels obligated to use his platform as an NFL player to denounce racism and social injustice. Finding a voice isn't difficult for Griffin, who's thrilled that the chorus of athletes expressing their opinions has grown louder in recent weeks.

"When I became a professional athlete, I understood the platform that you have, and how you use that platform is a direct reflection of your character," said Griffin, a Heisman Trophy winner and 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. "I always want to be able to speak freely and speak up for what I believe is right.

"I think guys are doing more of it right now because it's acceptable. It's never been to this level that you have guys coming out and saying things and speaking about what's going on in America. It's great to see, and it's not going to be just people that look like me who push this. People of color can't be the only ones sparking the change."

Griffin has encouraged his teammates, black and white, not to worry about the ramifications of talking about issues beyond football. The Ravens held a team meeting June 1 in which Head Coach John Harbaugh opened the floor for discussion about Floyd's death or whatever else was on players' hearts and minds.

What would Griffin tell a white teammate who might want to speak out, but who is hesitant to do so?

"My message would be, 'You want to be on the right side of history,''' Griffin said. "This moment's going to be in the history books. You want your kids and your kids' kids to say, 'My grandfather was part of the change. He spoke up when it was time to speak up.' I'm asking white teammates to speak up. What's their stake in the game? Their stake is being a good human being.

"The general rule has always been, 'Don't speak up because you're going to expose yourself to criticism.' But are you willing speak up for human rights? This isn't a black-white issue. This is about human decency. If we as a country say we're going to provide liberty and justice for all, then we should provide it."

Through his foundation, Griffin is selling wristbands and T-shirts featuring some of his favorite expressions – "Catch Your Dream", "Know Your Why", "No Pressure No Diamond", "This is for Us." There is also a GoFundMe campaign on his website to support his foundation's work with organizations in Baltimore, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Central Texas.

"We have a goal of $1 million," Griffin said. "The things we're selling through the foundation really took off. I'm a firm believer that it takes money to accomplish things in America. It's a cliché to say, 'If we all work together, we can figure it out.' But we trying to raise money to create change."

Griffin believes the NFL has changed for the better in recent days. He was proud when he saw star players participating in a video that went viral last week which condemned systematic police brutality and asked the league to listen more closely to its players.

Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a video statement the next day, saying the league was wrong for not listening before, but that he and the NFL were willing to listen now.

This is an opportunity for the NFL to act on Goodell's words, and Griffin said his voice will continue to be heard.

"It's the everyday systematic prejudice that you don't see visibly, that some people say doesn't exist, that's what we've had to deal with," Griffin said. "We're trying to get that point across. How do we solve this problem when so many people didn't see the problem?

"But when I saw players put out the video, I was proud of the way they stood up. To see Goodell respond the next day, I thought that was awesome. We have momentum now for change. We just don't want it to be an empty promise, a PR stunt. I trust the NFL won't do that, and I think the players are going to hold them accountable."

Related Content