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Shutdown Corner

Robert Griffin III posts a series of provocative, cryptic tweets about … what, exactly?

Jay Busbee
Shutdown Corner

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Robert Griffin III. (Getty Images)

Robert Griffin III is already the most popular athlete in his adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. (Sorry, Bryce Harper.) He's outspoken without being outrageous, and as a result he's also fast becoming one of the more influential athletes in the country. He's still finding his footing when it comes to addressing controversial topics, but once he does, he's likely to be a go-to source on both social and sports issues.

Case in point: a series of tweets that Griffin issued over the course of five hours on Tuesday evening. It's not quite clear what set Griffin off, but he offered up a series of honest tweets. They're not exactly soul-baring, but in a world where athletes are expected to toe the family-friendly, politically correct line in order to preserve their brand, Griffin is clearly chafing at the thought of staying silent.

Here are the tweets; following is some speculation about what Griffin may have been addressing:

Griffin has taken to Twitter in support of a cause before; he had a memorable run of tweets defending Brittney Griner and the rest of the Baylor women's basketball team after their surprising early-round exit from the women's NCAA tournament. And he's fast becoming a spokesman, whether he likes it or not; he was the most popular guest at the White House Correspondents' Dinner afterparties.

Question is, to what, exactly, is he speaking in opposition? One assumption is a new move by the D.C. City Council to get the Redskins to change their name from a "derogatory, racist" one, in the words of council member David Grosso, to "The Washington Redtails." That name would honor the Tuskegee Airmen, who broke the color barrier for military pilots in World War II, and would largely preserve the existing song ("Hail to the Redskins") and outward trappings of the team. The council's move is symbolic, as the Redskins train in Virginia and play in Maryland. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has given no indication of being anywhere close to changing the team's name.

Sports and political correctness intersect at multiple points these days, from the Redskins name to the recent treatment of newly-out-of-the-closet Jason Collins to Griffin's fellow quarterback Tim Tebow. Griffin could be addressing one of these, or none of them at all. Point is, when he speaks (or tweets), people listen. It's a heavy responsibility for someone of any age.

Still, one person not concerned about what Griffin means is one of the people who knows him best: his father, Robert Griffin Jr. "He's 23 years old, so he's going to see tyranny in a lot of things," a laughing Griffin Jr. told Yahoo! Sports' Martin Rogers. "I know I certainly did when I was 23." The elder Griffin indicated that he'd be speaking with Griffin III Wednesday afternoon, and would be interested in hearing more about where the young quarterback's mind is. As would his millions of fans.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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