Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is one of the most popular pro athletes in the country, beloved by fans and media alike. His on-field heroics in his first year with the NFL reinvigorated a long-suffering Washington fan base, earning the Redskins their first playoff berth in five seasons ad garnering Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
His legions of supporters justifiably want to show their appreciation, and apparently making RG3’s jersey the best-selling in NFL history last year wasn’t enough. So they went one step further and bought him a wafflemaker. And flatware. And several sets of hand towels.
Let us explain. RG3 is getting married this summer, to fiancée and fellow Baylor alum Rebecca Liddicoat. Like many other betrothed couples before them, the two registered for gifts at Bed Bath and Beyond. The link to the registry quickly got around, via the web and the Washington Post, and fans eagerly started buying up gifts over the weekend.
Sunday, Griffin tweeted his appreciation, posting a photo of himself in front of a mountain of gift boxes with the message: “Thank you to the Fans who are helping buy ALL the items from our wedding registry at Bed Bath & Beyond “
Predictably there was a bit of backlash. Some took to Twitter suggesting it was inappropriate for Griffin, who’s in his second year of a $21 million contract, to be accepting gifts from fans, who in all likelihood are not as well off. Others suggested he donate the gifts to charity.
Griffin addressed his critics on Twitter:
“I didn't ask the fans to buy me anything. They found it on their own and decided to get what they could. SMH [shaking my head] at all these Debbie downers”
“Because you are rich you are not allowed to receive gifts and any gifts you receive should be donated to charity???? #WOW Smh...”
But for the most part, the reaction, of both fans and a bemused media, has been largely positive. “Congratulations! We knew it was smart to save all those 20% off coupons,” @valeroalamobowl tweeted Griffin. “All the best to you and Rebecca.”
“Sometimes you give to a city, and a city gives back to you,” another user tweeted. “You bled for us, and we give to you. God Bless your wedding.”
And it was all in fun, for the most part. "It was kind of a goof," one fan told the Washington Post Monday. "To be perfectly honest, I just saw something on there that wasn’t that expensive and was like 'You know what, I might as well send that.' It was off the wall, it was goofy and no one else had bought it.'"
So now that the mild controversy is out of the way, what can we glean about the future Griffins from their Bed Bath and Beyond wish list?
Less than you think. Other than an above-average number of towels requested, the registry, assuming it is genuine (the couple used their real names, despite Griffin's immense fame), looks pretty typical. The two did sign up for a huge number of items, many of them priced in the $10 to $20 range. This has led some around the blogosphere to posit that the wedding will be huge, and that the guest list will be largely composed of the couple’s less famous, less wealthy friends. But prevailing registry etiquette suggests signing up for far more items than you need or expect to receive, and to sign up for a lot of small, less expensive items. That way, all guests have the option of getting you a gift at any price range they choose.
So there’s no telling how big RG3’s wedding will be. Griffin and Liddicoat probably didn’t expect that pile of packages in the mail. That said, you can still get the couple a gift, should you be so inspired. Unfulfilled items include a stainless steel recycling can, lawn furniture, and lamps. Plus several more towels.