Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden ripped ESPN’s Britt McHenry Sunday over a report that claimed quarterback Robert Griffin III had “alienated himself” from the team’s locker room. Gruden dismissed McHenry as a “small-time reporter reporting fiction.”
“It was totally not true. And for anybody who reads that to believe that, they’re an amateur,” Gruden said at a press conference after Washington’s 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. “Anybody who reports that’s an amateur. It’s totally false. And just something else that you have to deal with up here at a press conference, that Robert has to deal with, that the players have to deal with, that they’re going to write about and ask about. But we are in D.C., and it is Robert Griffin, and they’re always going to try to tear him down and tear us down for whatever reason. But we’re going to stay united as a locker room, and that’s that. We’re not going to let anybody get to us.”
McHenry’s report referenced a Friday incident in which a group of Griffin’s Redskins teammates became intentionally disruptive while he attempted to address the media, only to cheer louder when he left the room. Griffin told ESPN that the disruption was an inside joke among Redskins players.
“I know exactly what happened. We were laughing and they were creating the joke. It escalated quickly, and I think the Washington media and the people that are here will understand at the end of the day it is our locker room. Both sides need to respect each other. You guys have a job to do and we have a job to do, and it won't happen again, but it had nothing to do with them worrying about me starting or not wanting to start. ... It is completely false, the reasoning behind that report, but I try not to dive into what you guys have to do,” Griffin said.
In a separate report, sources within the Redskins organization told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that they believed the decision to start Griffin over Colt McCoy despite two consecutive victories came from above Gruden – an assertion that Redskins executive Tony Wyllie denied. “[It was Gruden’s] decision, and the owner has nothing to do with it – scratch that,” he said.
Griffin made his first start since Week 2 on Sunday and threw for 251 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. The Redskins' record now stands at 3-6.