Believe It or Not, RG3 Can Cash in on His Celeb Status & Rehab at the Same Time

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 9, 2013

Image courtesy of the Washington Post
Image courtesy of the Washington Post

Exactly four months ago today, Robert Griffin III had reconstructive surgery to repair the lateral collateral ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

For a few weeks post-surgery, the Washington Redskins quarterback went into hiding. But once he could start walking only with a limp, Griffin couldn't help himself.

Less than a month after the procedure, he walked to the stage problem-free to collect his offensive rookie of the year award from Drew Brees and Olivia Munn.

And then there he was in Texas, getting a street named after him in a public ceremony. And then back to D.C. to throw footballs to a circus elephant. He followed that up by visiting with Barack Obama while attending a March Madness game.

Then out to Los Angeles, where he was given the TMZ treatment at Mr. Chow (before giving us a RG3-Morgan Freeman moment).

Oh, and there he was hitting golf balls on a driving range in Maryland, just days before doing jumping jacks on stage at the Redskins' draft party. Just hours later, RG3 was "the surprise hit of the night" at a White House Correspondents' Association Dinner after-party.

He followed that up with a dapper appearance at the Kentucky Derby and was most recently spotted at a charity golf tournament and an American Cancer Society luncheon back in Washington.

So yes, Griffin's been getting around, which caused the Washington Post to debate this week whether the 23-year-old is overexposed

"Obviously he's not rehabbing 24 hours a day," said the Post's Dan Steinberg, "obviously he's not studying film 24 hours a day, but if he comes back and he's struggling, you know that the critics are going to say he was spending too much time with celebrities."

They'll certainly say that, but they'll be perpetuating a fallacy. There's no correlation between Griffin's spare-time endeavors and his full-time job. 

Griffin isn't doing anything he shouldn't be. Superstar athletes have spent offseasons like this for years. The only difference now is that social media has enabled us to document each public appearance with more precision and to a wider audience. 

This can be boiled down to the chasm separating perception from reality. Above, we cite fewer than a dozen public appearances RG3 has made in a span of nearly 14 weeks. That's less than one appearance per week, with only four taking place outside of the the D.C. area. 

I don't believe for a second that a schedule like that takes away from Griffin's rehab or his preparation. Fans who don't see it that way must realize that it's not only permitted, but it is advantageous for these guys to have lives outside of football. 

The same people who think RG3 is doing too much are the same people who think athletes should be scrutinized for partying on Friday nights because it could affect their performances on Sunday afternoons. Those folks prescribe to the silly supposition that these guys are paid so well that their only focus in life should be on winning games. 

Actually, it would be a shame if Griffin were to decline opportunities such as these. RG3 might not owe anybody, but he'd be foolish not to cash in on his celebrity status. Superstardom is a commodity in America, and RG3 is taking care of himself, his kids, their kids and several more generations of Griffins, simply by being himself. 

That's cynical, sure. But charitable events also outnumbered nightclubs by a 2-to-1 ratio in that list above. A star like Griffin has the power to essentially take money from society's bourgeoisie and distribute it to those in need.

At that charity event Wednesday, Griffin raised $33,000 for the American Cancer Society, according to Rich Campbell of the Washington Times. In order to hit that mark, he posed for 18 photographs ($1,000 each) and signed a pair of pink cleats (which received a $15,000 winning bid at auction).

His LCL and ACL managed to stay intact.