To be completely honest, this was an article I thought I wouldn't have to write. I knew that some people would likely be upset with RG3's decision, whichever way it went, but I didn't think our fans or any rational observers would question the actual people involved. Apparently I was wrong. I'm not here to tell anyone how to feel about this process. It's going to be painful for Baylor fans to lose the greatest player we've ever known and everyone is different. I am here to tell you, though, why I'm not mad at RG2 at all.
First, I might need to explain why this is even necessary. As Prashanth linked earlier, ESPN.com posted a story this morning by Chris Mortensen quoting Robert Griffin, Jr. (RG3's father) as basically saying it was a done deal that Robert would forego his senior year at Baylor and declare for the NFL Draft. Here is the full quote as ESPN.com published it.
"I met with my son (Friday) and his schedule is pretty much he will attend the Sugar Bowl here in New Orleans, then next weekend he will meet with five agents and select the right agent to represent him and plan a good pre-draft process," Griffin II said. "After that he will sit down with three of his coaches at Baylor on Wednesday or Thursday (Jan. 11 or 12) and make it official."
Mortensen added, without quoting verbatim, that "Griffin's father, Robert Griffin II, said Saturday night it's a matter of when, not if." Reading the quote from RG2, I don't think that's an unreasonably interpretation, and the quote itself paints a pretty clear picture that RG2 believes his son has made up his mind.
For his part, RG3 posted on his Facebook account almost immediately after the ESPN story broke that he has not decided anything relating to his collegiate eligibility. I believe both people, father and son, are being truthful in this situation about their intentions. RG2 probably believes it is in his son's best interest to go to the NFL, while RG3 may not be so willing to leave his school and teammates behind. The Mortensen story also includes a quote from RG2 to that effect:
"He actually has made a strong case to return because he's only 12 hours short of his master's, but he believes he can still accomplish that goal," Griffin II said. "He's still waiting for his official evaluation from the league, but the decision (to turn pro) is not a hard decision."
I think this second quote is more of the reason why I'm having to write this article than the first. From the wording of it, it sounds like RG3 may want to return (he "has made a strong case" to do so) while RG2 does not want him to do so ("the decision is not a hard decision"). Without having any inside information about the dynamics of the Griffin family or their process in this decision, it would make sense (based purely on speculation) for RG3 to be pulled back to school and RG2 to want to steer him to the NFL. I don't know for a fact that is happening, but it would make sense to me.
This idea, that RG2 may be influencing his son to go to the NFL, has been met in more than a few places I frequent with hostility; for RG2 to do something like that means he obviously either hates Baylor and wants RG3 to cash in with the NFL or that he (RG2) is being overbearing and needs to let his son make his own decisions. Get out of his life, Mr. Griffin!
I don't think that either could be further from the truth. We have to remember in this situation that RG2, while grateful I am sure to Art Briles, the rest of the coaching staff, and Baylor University for their roles in his son's life, is not at all beholden to the University we love. It is not his job at all to make sure that Baylor football has another good season in 2012, which I'm sure it would were RG3 to return. His only job is to do what is best for his son; to make the best possible decision under the circumstances that he can. If that means that he believes RG3's path leads to the NFL now rather than later, that does not say anything about his feelings for our school, its football team, or any of us as fans. We may quarrel with his priorities for Robert, i.e. we might believe he is undervaluing Robert's commitment to the team, but RG2 has earned the benefit of the doubt. He has raised an incredible son under difficult circumstances (the life of a military family is almost never an easy one) and is by all accounts an incredible father. He does not hate Baylor; he loves his son.
Typing that out makes it seem so painfully obvious that I am sure I must be overreacting to a few of the more ridiculous comments I've ever seen, but those feelings are apparently out there. I hope I am just exaggerating them or that the same person is just in multiple places spouting the same idea under different names. Knowing the internet as I do, I suppose that's entirely possible.