He's artfully and diplomatically stayed out of the debate over the Washington Redskins name, but now rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is facing a petition to demand a new name.
"The offensive team name has got to go and I think RGIII can help make it happen," reads the demand on the popular petition site Change.org typically used for political petitions.
The petition went up as the football team's name, opposed by many who see it as a slur on native Americans, came under attack at a symposium at the the National Museum of the American Indian. During the session, the name was repeatedly slammed.
Griffin, the new star of the Redskins, hasn't said what he thinks of the name, though he has repeatedly said that he is proud to play for the Redskins.
"RGIII, whether he likes it or not, is a leader both on and off the field. From his Christian values to his charity work, it's admirable! But that's what makes silence that much more surprising. His silence on this issue is actually support for continuing the Redskins offensive team name. But that's wrong," said the petition author Adrianne Burke. "I think he just needs to see how many people want him to be a leader on this."
The petition has already drawn reactions, notably from Bruce Friedrich, well known in Washington for his work protecting animals, now for Farm Sanctuary. The longtime 'Skins fan wrote, "I love the Redskins but hate racism. If this were the Washington XXXXXX (insert derogative term about blacks, Jews, or another better-represented group), we wouldn't even need this petition."