- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I imagine everyone has things in their past that they don’t want folks to know about. Whether it’s youthful indiscretions or regrettable choices in adulthood, we’re thankful that our lives aren’t open books for all the world to see.

Not that there’s overwhelming interest in every Tom, Dick and Harry (unless they have surnames like Cruise, Cheney and Potter). But we’d hate it if our secrets were revealed and caused disappointment among our family, friends and associates.

On the flip side, we don’t mind hearing about other people’s dirt, especially public figures. TMZ and the National Enquirer play leading roles in an industry devoted to uncovering celebrities’ veiled truths … or passing along juicy rumors.

So it’s likely that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the subject of some frantic, furious research efforts at this very moment. And to be completely honest, I’m curious about what might turn up.

Several media outlets reported Griffin was targeted by former Baylor basketball player Richard Khamir Hurd in an alleged blackmail scheme. Hurd, who was arraigned Monday on a federal extortion charge, allegedly threatened to release “derogatory information” about Griffin unless he was paid a “substantial sum” of money.

According to court documents, Hurd contacted the agency that represents Griffin and last week met with a representative at a business in Waco, Texas. The documents state that Hurd signed a nondisclosure agreement, handed over the information and received a check before he was arrested by an undercover FBI agent.

“There’s vultures out there, people looking to climb on top of all your money,” Griffin told reporters Tuesday, during a “Play 60” event for children at the Cleveland Browns’ training facility. He didn’t comment specifically on the arrest of Hurd, 25, but noted how the news broke during this week’s NFL Rookie Symposium.

The league says the symposium is an orientation for all drafted rookies, “focusing on social responsibility, professional development, community engagement, league policies, workplace conduct and media relations. In addition, it offers educational life-skills workshops on topics ranging from substance abuse, sex education, domestic violence, DUI, gambling, personal finance, associations and family issues.”

This year’s class has heard cautionary tales from speakers such as Adam “Pacman” Jones, Terrell Owens and Michael Vick, as well as less-dramatic stories from the likes of Hardy Nickerson and LaVar Arrington. Griffin said the players’ speeches foreshadowed his case and drove their points home.

“You’ve got to be careful with who you trust,” he said.

Even more important for celebrities such as Griffin, who essentially walk around with bull’s-eye targets on their backs, is being careful with what you do.

The cleaner you stay, the less you need trustworthy people to conceal your dirty secrets. Yes, keep your circle small, but also keep your behavior honest. That’s the real lesson that bites public (and not-so-public) figures, again and again.

I have no idea of the information Hurd turned over. But I’d be surprised if he was a member of Griffin’s circle of trust. I bet there are a few degrees of separation between Hurd and sources close enough to Griffin to provide derogatory information.

The Redskins should ask Griffin about Hurd’s undisclosed revelation. I’d certainly want to know if I was going to pay him approximately $21 million. (I want to know anyway, but that’s just being nosy.)

Being upfront with his new team would be beneficial, allowing it to prepare in case the information eventually leaks out. If Griffin really wants to reduce the potential impact, he should grab a microphone and tell us exactly what Hurd had on him.

But I won’t blame RG3 if he chooses to hope that the news never surfaces. I doubt that many of us would tell on ourselves willingly, unless left no other choice.

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