I blame everyone.
I blame the media.
I blame John Madden.
I blame the Green Bay Packers.
I blame the Green Bay Packer fans.
I blame Brett Favre.
I blame me and you and every sports fan I know.
Because we created this monster, and now it just won’t go away. We’re all Dr. Frankenstein, and this one man will haunt us until the end of our days.
We let this man get bigger than the game, and now he has a franchise and essentially an entire state of people who put more stock in who is the quarterback of their football team than they do the actual issues of the world.
People protested at Lambeau Field last week. Brett Favre’s interview last night wasn’t on ESPN, or even Fox Sports. It was on Fox News. And it was the lead story.
Brett Favre, instead of an interview with current Senator and Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain. As oil prices skyrocket, the housing market plummets, and the unemployment rate rising, Brett Favre is the lead story on Fox News.
What the hell happened to this country?
I am a sports fan. I am a pretty avid one, at that. But I also take the time to read and pay attention to other things, like politics, the economy, and paying my own bills.
I write a sports blog because I enjoy writing and I think I am particularly good at it. But I will never protest at the Metrodome if somehow the Twins trade Justin Morneau in his fading years (assuming they even spend enough to keep him that long).
I certainly wouldn’t be the television producer who chooses to lead with an interview with Brett Favre over a presidential nominee. And I sure as hell don’t see why Brett Favre should be pandered to like this.
He’s only one man—a man who happens to play a game for a living, at that. A man who now, it seems, feels if his image isn’t included in the NFL logo (a la Jerry West), or at least in the Packer logo, his legacy is tarnished.
This may be an exaggeration, but I really am not so sure anymore. Brett Favre has spent this whole offseason going back and forth as to whether or not he wants to play, only to come to the final conclusion that, indeed, he is 100 percent committed to football.
His conclusion coming just a couple of weeks before the beginning of Packers' training camp. And he is stunned when he’s told, “Sorry, Brett, but we’ve moved on.”
He says he’s fine with them moving on. Yet, if he’s okay with that, why all this?
This should be seen as nothing short of unacceptable. But, here we are, with millions questioning what the Packers should do. Here Brett is, demanding not a trade, but an unconditional release, as he feels he has earned that right. He feels the Packers are not telling the whole truth about him.
And yet, after hearing his interview with Greta Van Susteren, I am not sure what that truth really is.
Consider that Van Susteren is, in fact, a Favre family friend and an admitted Packer fan who owns stock in the team. Not surprisingly, he really didn’t have anything to say of any real consequence, for there were no hard questions forcing him to do so.
He said he felt pressured into giving an answer, an "honest" one, back in March. But he knew—he had to know—that if he made that decision at that time and were to change his mind later, it would create nothing but trouble. But he did not seem to take it into consideration.
He says, “It’s unfortunate that it came to this.” But he does not make the connection, conveniently, that it came to this because of HIM.
Favre did his best to do a little damage control while clearly attacking Packers' brass for lying to the media and, thus, the public about Brett Favre. In essence, he blames the Packers' organization, specifically Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, for asking him for a decision too early for him to be able to make up his mind.
Yet, he seemed pretty certain when he gave that tear-filled retirement press conference back in March.
Last night, he was also abundantly clear on his current demands: “Give me my helmet, release me or attempt to trade me.”
Van Susteren’s comments to the AP ahead of the interview seem to indicate otherwise. From the AP story, Van Susteren said that, “while Favre said the Packers asked him for a list of teams to which he would accept a trade, he wants to be released to make sure he ends up on a competitive club.”
Only in sports are employees remotely allowed to give demands of their employers. Even then, if they do make a demand, they should be prepared to get an answer they do not like (just ask Terrell Owens). However, Favre did not speak as if he were a subordinate.
Favre spoke as if he were the owner of the Packers. He compared himself to Bart Starr in the interview and seemed to speak as if he were Vince Lombardi himself back from the grave.
This is partly true, if only because it is currently Favre who is haunting Lambeau Field.
As I said before, I do not just blame Favre for this mess. I blame us all for making deities out of mortals paid to play a game. I blame the “Brett Favre is Brett Favre” attitude people like John Madden trot out there not only to extol the virtues of a player, but to excuse their otherwise unacceptable behavior.
And I blame everyone else connected to the sports world, for we have created the hype machine Favre is feeding off of, and nobody’s truly called him out.
This may never happen, for Favre is insulated enough now to be able to pull a President Bush and choose who he speaks to and what softball questions he will answer, if any. Answers will never be extracted from this King of Beer Country.
Why would you retire if you might have the itch? If you feel so entitled to making your own decision, why not tell the Packers you need more time and force them to leave the door open? Why agree to a press conference when you know there’s a chance it will look like a sham within just a few months time?
Sadly, we know the answers, just as we all know where this is headed. Brett Favre will return to the Packers, lest the front office feel the wrath of their rabid fan base, willing to march on Lambeau Field rather than allow the team to make decisions on its own.
And in a year, this whole drama will play itself out yet again, as the Packers wring their hands through another offseason and Favre sits in his home in Mississippi, sipping on a drink, riding his Snapper lawn mower, content to hold an entire organization hostage for one more year.
And the most we have gotten out of Brett Favre in this whole mess is a venting session with, basically, an influential fan…
"They pressured me into a decision."
"I wasn’t committed then."
“Give me my helmet, release me or attempt to trade me.”
Sounds like a lot of whining and demanding to me. This is, essentially, a tantrum from a 30-something millionaire quarterback. Brett Favre wants his way. When it’s all said and done, Brett Favre will have whined his way back into a Packer uniform. Lucky for him, there’s a lot of cheese up in Wisconsin to pair it with.
Good thing there aren’t more important things going on in the world, huh?