Back in November, we covered news that Robert Griffin III was writing a book about his time with the Washington football franchise (since renamed the Commanders.)
Washington drafted Griffin with the second overall pick in 2012, and he spent his first four seasons with the franchise, starting with his rookie of the year campaign (that ended with a brutal knee injury) and trending somewhat downhill from there. Griffin, currently employed by ESPN, promised via a promotional video that his book would reveal inside information about the organization’s culture of sexual harassment.
Now, after reports yesterday that the book had been scrapped, Griffin himself confirmed he’d had “second thoughts” on the project. From Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, who had the statement from Griffin’s agent:
“Through the process of thinking about writing a book, I’ve learned that this an issue bigger than one person,” Griffin said. “I want to give space to and elevate those who have already come forward, while encouraging those who have not yet to feel empowered to speak. This is a matter that very qualified people are continuing to manage with sensitivity and seriousness, and ultimately, I learned that this book was not the proper forum for this. In time and through a more meaningful method, I hope to address my first-hand experience.”
Obviously this situation conjures up the potential for any number of external factors that could have persuaded Griffin to not publish the book, which was set for a summer release from Simon & Schuster. Dan Snyder isn’t afraid of litigation, and Griffin’s current employer is obviously financially tied to the NFL (in a relationship that’s only getting stronger.)
The official line, though, is that there was no outside influence at play here:
(Griffin’s agent Mark) Lepselter confirmed to PFT that the book project is indeed dead. I asked Lepselter whether direct or indirect pressure was applied by the Commanders, by owner Daniel Snyder, by the NFL, and/or by ESPN.
“Simply put,” Lepselter said, “that is just not the case. Unequivocally, the answer is no.”
That’s not an implausible statement; it’s a sensitive subject, and Griffin had faced criticism for potentially profiting off of the trauma of others. Make of it what you will.