Part of Robert Griffin III's appeal to fans has been the way he honestly and sometimes uncomfortably opens up to his fans on social media.

The NFL's 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year has earned a large social following (1.23 million Twitter followers) thanks to a unique form of engagement through the many hurdles of his young career.

Now that accessibility may have backfired on Griffin, who was drawn into a verbal sparring match with a commentator on one of his recent Instagram posts.


Griffin on Monday posted this harmless video of him singing along to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."


Jamming to MJ on the way to get that work in this morning #BillyJean What you working with this morning?

A video posted by Robert Griffin III (@rgiii) on

Griffin has more than 300,000 followers on his Instagram page. As is the custom for pro athletes, especially those like Griffin who have struggled in large markets, many of the comments on his photos are negative. The Instagram user @cperezrn commented on Griffin's video with this rather unpleasant note:

“This is why you will be cut after next year in Washington. Why you weren’t even mentioned as the future. You are a ‘QB’. Act like one.”

Asked by another commenter to elaborate on the connection between listening to music and quarterbacking, @cperezrn had this to say:

“He cares more about his brand, social media than working in his craft. After the 2016 seasons respond back to me if I am wrong. He will be cut by the Redskins after those years. Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Manning don’t act this way. Very simple observation."

Griffin jumped in at this point to defend himself. Via the Washington Post, here's how the interaction went:

@rgiii: @cperezrn If giving back to the community and training for football at the same time is frowned upon…..then what would you say I do Sir? Not give back or Train? Honest Question

Oh wait…and should I not enjoy a classic song with others who Love MJ? I’m just asking for your wisdom here.

@cperezrn: It’s about the image @rgiii. Whether or not you are training trying to get better it’s all about how you present yourself. Your coach, owner doesn’t want to see you present yourself in this matter. Think about it for a minute. You grew up in a military family. I am also a military man. Ask your father, mother it’s how you present yourself.

@rgiii: And I’m presenting myself in a negative way by doing…..what exactly?

@cperezrn: Never said you were presenting yourself in a “negative” way. Just seems that you care more about your social media, commercial’s and brand than football. That’s all bud. Good luck next year. @rgiii. Hope you prove your fans wrong.

@rgiii: And what or who makes it seem that way? The fans are the ones who support not the ones I have to prove wrong

I hear what you are saying, but for you to say those things to me is a sign that you don’t know what I am about and have been watching and listening to other people who have never even met me.

@cperezrn: I rest my case at least you understand what I’m trying to tell you and what your critics have said about you. It’s about how you present yourself. Of course we don’t know you. We know your social media, the commercials you make. That’s why I said act like the leader of your team. After you win a title no one can criticize you, but for now they do. Anyways, good luck to you.

@rgiii: No need to act like a leader, just gonna be one as always. The case you tried to make isn’t supported by anything I have done. Fun loving, motivation & football based commercials? Motivation and family related social media post?

@rgiii: Community events and gear going towards helping the community?

@cperezrn: If you were the leader of your team, why weren’t you mentioned as the future the other day. I’m not talking about your community involvement. Not criticizing that. I’m talking to you about the way you present yourself and many of your critics feel that you care more about your brand than football. That is ALL that I’m saying. I can be 100% wrong, even your teammates have said they aren’t sure about you. Think you have too much “DIVA” in you. Anyways I’m wrong you are right.”

@rgiii: Military families have class, dignity & loyalty. I will maintain mine. You have not shown any of those. I will keep it that way and let you go right off my page God Bless

Towards the end of the 2014 season Griffin stopped posting on his social media accounts because he said his messages were getting twisted. This seems like a prime example of why Griffin was wary of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Without warning a post could go from innocuous to toxic.

After a disappointing season in which he was injured and then benched, Griffin is in a precarious position. The Redskins left his name off a letter they sent to fans and coach Jay Gruden has said the 2015 starting spot is up for grabs.

Griffin seemed to find some humor in the situation, retweeting a fan who had this to say about the Instagram scuffle:


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