The biggest story in Washington DC during 2012, only slightly behind the presidential election, was the Stephen Strasburg shutdown decision. Now in 2013 another debate has just sparked up, should the Redskins have followed the Nationals example and shutdown their star in Robert Griffin III.
The Nationals decided to shutdown their ace Stephen Strasburg at the end of last season and he is now 100% healthy and ready for a full workload in 2013. The Redskins didn't shutdown RG3 after he injured his LCL in Week 14 and now he faces a possible long term injury and the Redskins are out of the playoffs.
Clearly the two situations are completely different, but that hasn't stopped people from comparing the two. And EVERYONE is an expert.
Howie long brought this point up on the Fox postgame show: "Washington has 2 of the really dynamic young stars in sports today. Stephen Strasburg with the Nationals, and RG3 in football. The Nationals made the decision to shut Stephen Strasburg down...you have to wonder, and I hope RG3 is good and its just a slight setback, but you have to wonder, should he have been on the field today".
The question that Mike Shanahan had to consider was having Kirk Cousins on the field to face Seattle or the injured RG3. Shanny went with the guy who got them there, RG3.
Former NFLer Fabian Washington tweeted “RG3 played in week 17 and beat Dallas but now ppl are saying he shouldn't be playing in the playoff because he's hurt. GTFOH”.
When the Nationals shutdown Strasburg there was still hope. The young phenom Bryce Harper was heating up and they still had another ace in Gio Gonzalez. But Kirk Cousins is not Gio Gonzalez.
Even Skip Bayless agreed: “I don’t want to see Kirk Cousins I still believe in RG3's ability to make 4th-quarter plays on one leg.”.
If one notion is clear in both the Strasburg and the RG3 situations, it's that all teams have to protect their star players in order to protect the franchise for the future, perhapes even despite what the players themselves believe. Strasburg was initially displeased with the shutdown as he was quoted saying “It was pretty shocking. Honestly I'm not too happy about it”. RG3 refused to pull himself, or let himself be pulled, out of the game, saying he would have “Gone right back out there”.
Injuries can't be predicted but often times can be prevented. The idea of shutting down an athlete with a killer instinct is not an easy decision. The players won't like it and the fans may not like it, but it could be the key to a successful future of the franchise.
Written By Redskins Contributor Ben Gerow