RG III going in another direction

ByJohn Keim ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- Robert Griffin III had enough of his words being twisted or taken a direction he had no desire to travel. So, during news conferences, the Redskins quarterback changed his tone. And on social media, once a landing spot for his phrases and sayings, he went silent.

Griffin said he is staying off Twitter and Facebook until after the season. In fact, he hasn't tweeted or posted anything on Facebook since Thanksgiving. His last action on Twitter was to retweet a picture with a fan to help raise awareness for ALS.

He also went bland in news conferences -- his "focus on San Francisco" before facing the 49ers last month serving as a prime example.

"It just felt like, for me, anything I was saying, whether it was positive or negative, whether it was a positive retweet or anything, was getting twisted and turned against me and against this team," he said. "I feel I can be free up here and talk to you guys, but sometimes things get twisted and turned and it creates a distraction for the team. I didn't want that to happen."

Griffin said he tries not to pay attention to the intense focus on him, whether it's trying to parse the meaning of his quotes or negative reaction from fans via social media.

"I played a game and then I was out for seven weeks and there was still a ton of noise," Griffin said. "Sometimes you don't understand certain things and they don't go the way you want them to go, but if I get criticized for retweeting about going to a charity event for a foundation, I mean what else can you do? So I decided to shut it down and not focus on it.

"It's not that I was focused on it before. I felt like I would cut out a little bit of it for me. I'm sure there is still a lot of noise out there, but I don't ever see it."

After Griffin tweeted well wishes to Kansas City's Eric Berry, who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, some fans took that as an opportunity to criticize him.

Griffin likes to interact with fans and has never been shy in interviews, but he said it hasn't been hard for him to take a different approach.

"I will get back into that in the offseason," he said. "I'm a social person. I like to be open and talk to the fans, and we'll definitely get back to that, but for now I will just leave it alone."

Another impetus for Griffin's silence was a public chastising from his coach after a 27-7 loss to Tampa Bay. After that game, Griffin blamed himself during most of a 10-minute news conference.

However, he also said his teammates had to play better too. Redskins coach Jay Gruden pounced on that the following day.

"I was just coaching out loud," Gruden said. "The whole thing came up when it came out he was criticizing his teammates or what have you. I just wanted to make sure he was worried about his own game."

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