One of the most annoying subplots of football for the past several years has been the offseason speculation of “Is Brett Favre going to retire?” Even before he has retired and un-retired for the past three years there was the regular offseason carousel of speculation for probably four years before that. And I hate to lend any more space to Brett Favre than is necessary because, frankly, I’m sick of him and just want him to go away, but I am loving that what is happening this season is basically taking a hatchet to his legacy.
Athletes, especially superstar athletes, understandably have a hard time letting go of the limelight that they’ve existed in for so many years. But Brett Favre has taken it to new heights of ridiculousness. He’s been known as a gunslinger who is just having fun playing the game and was adored by nearly everyone in the media and by almost all fans. But that has slowly eroded the last few years when he left Green Bay for the New York Jets and then the past two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. Nothing is more damaging to a players legacy, at least in the short term, than jumping ship and going to play for their rivals. In time, the Packer fans will probably forgive him and welcome him back with open arms, but he has taken a flamethrower to his popularity among one of the most devoted fanbases in the league.
Not only has he alienated the Packer fans, and countless other NFL fans, but the media has started to turn on Favre. Even as I’m typing this, ESPN’s Sportscenter anchor Brian Kenny opened the show by saying, “You thought you were Favred out, but…” The praises of him being a “gunslinger” and someone “just out there having fun” have been replaced with criticisms of him being reckless with the football, taking too many chances on the field, and not being committed enough to practicing and learning the playbook and system.
Now, finally, on top of all of this, there are now allegations from a former New York Jets employee, Jenn Sterger, that Favre sent her inappropriate voicemails and text messages and explicit photos of himself back in 2008. The NFL is investigating the allegations, and it has been reported that Favre admitted to the league that he left the messages but not the pictures. If it turns out that he did in fact do this and sent the photos, he’s opened up a huge can of worms for himself. There is the possibility of a sexual harrassment lawsuit. It could even open up the league or the Jets to a lawsuit. And then there is the dreaded “violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy” which could lead to the league suspending Favre. If that were to happen, then he’d probably just retire.
Which is maybe what he should have done in the first place. If he had just simply stayed retired after the 2007 season instead of coming back in 2008 with the Jets and then two more times with the Vikings, this whole can of worms never happens. So now the chickens have come home to roost for Brett Favre for being such a drama queen for the last few years.