A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
I have heard that retirement, like many major changes in life, is tough. One day you’re an important cog in the wheel. The next, you’re spending your mornings at Walgreens waiting for your prescriptions, at a time of day when you used to be in meetings.
My father and my late father-in-law spent decades on their careers. And although their jobs took different paths (my dad in marketing and my father-in-law in medicine), they had one thing in common. They dreaded retirement. How would they define themselves without a job title? They eventually figured it out, but it took years.
Now, we Packer fans have a front-row seat for Brett Favre’s own late career crisis. The player most likely to create drama on the field has brewed up a perfect storm of controversy pitting himself and his legacy against Packers GM, Ted Thompson.
Brett, I know it’s tough to retire, but you should be ashamed of yourself.
Let me back up and tell you that I am one of the biggest Brett Favre fans there is. When everyone else in my house booed his interceptions, I continued to cheer him on. We all have bad days on the job, right? I was continually impressed with his team-first attitude, despite professional and personal challenges. Oh and one more thing: I do not blame Favre for the NFC Championship loss to the Giants. Sorry, no. It takes an entire team to lose.
Today, my feelings have changed. (About Favre, not that frigid game.)
Favre has single-handedly put the Packers in a no-win situation. He points the finger at the team administration for asking him to make a decision before the draft. Can you blame them? The team’s job is to look to the future and prepare for the upcoming season. It is not their job to look out for Favre and twiddle their thumbs while he rides his tractor and mulls over his choices.
He has changed his mind several times since his retirement press conference. And rather than answer to the rumors swirling about, he allowed his brother and his mother to talk to the media. C’mon Brett. Do your own talking.
What bothers me most is that everything Favre has done demonstrates that he feels he is more important than the team. The good ole boy from Mississippi apparently has a sizeable ego. He doesn’t want to be traded, he just wants to be released. He won’t be a backup ($12 million for holding a clipboard - nice work if you can get it) and he doesn’t feel like he should have to compete for the starting job.
And to add to the drama, Favre is supposed to be in town this weekend to help induct Frank Winters into the Packer Hall of Fame. Poor Frankie Bag O’ Doughnuts. His big day of celebration just became a media circus all about Brett. Way to go, gunslinger.
I heard former Packer wide receiver Don Beebe on the radio the other day. He had a great suggestion: Favre shows up at training camp and proves that he is humble enough to get out there with the rest of the guys and compete for his position. This will force the Packers’ hand and make him look like the all-around great guy we thought he was. They’ll either have to reinstate him as a starter, trade him or release him.
For those who have said that the Packers owe Favre his release or his job back, I disagree. Favre has always been paid handsomely and, in turn, has performed commensurate to his salary. Both sides upheld their ends of the bargain. That’s it. Favre gets the endless accolades for ever and ever. But to bow to his every whim, at the expense of the future of the franchise, is just plain foolish. To let him go and get nothing in return would be, in my opinion, a poor fiscal decision for the team.
There are no winners in Favre’s self-created soap opera. His legacy has been forever tarnished. The Packers are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. It didn’t have to be this way. If Favre had just left us wanting more and moved on to pursue other hobbies, I think we’d all be happier. I would much rather remember him in that last heartbreaking game, leaving it all out on the field, than hear him whining to Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. (What? Was ESPN’s Chris Mortensen busy or just tired of the theatrics?)
Now, we’re just left with the name of a popular Tom Petty song:
Brett, “Stop draggin’ my heart around.”