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."
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:
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:
Funny how RGIII's community outreach event got mostly crickets... but an IG post got a full story...but I'm.. pic.twitter.com/Zh52FBlEx2
— Lizzuendo (@Lizzs_Lockeroom) February 9, 2015