As I was snooping around NFL.com this weekend in an attempt to find something that didn’t involve the lockout, I came across an article from Vic Carucci entitled “Favre deserves Packers number retired sooner than later.”
My eyes widened at the title.
Was he really suggesting what I thought he was? Did he believe that good ol’ Number Four deserved an expedited reconciliation from the Green Bay Packers?
Apparently he did.
After reading Carucci’s thoughts on the matter, my regard for him dropped significantly. Though, to be completely up front about it, I never really cared for his writing to begin with. It’s not like his stock had very far to fall anyways.
But this was just ridiculous.
Carucci personally finds it “unsettling” that CEO Mark Murphy attached the timetable of “a few years” to the retirement of Favre’s number. He does admit that this “speaks to what remains an overwhelmingly wide gap in the relationship between Favre and the Packers.” He even acknowledges the fact that the Packers need some time to let the “old wounds” heal.
For some reason I cannot explain, however, Carucci puts the entire burden of reconciliation on the Green Bay Packers organization.
Now, I’ve done my best to remain silent on this issue, because it’s one that divides the Packers fan base. And I respect all of the differing opinions out there. Each person has a legitimate reason for siding one way or the other, and without all the facts of the messy divorce, we only have speculation on which to base our claims.
My personal feeling is that Favre turned his back on the Green Bay Packers, even though both sides could have handled things better when going their separate ways. The vitriol that fans feel didn’t start when he went to the New York Jets. People seemed to support him, and a lot of Packers fans were understandably skeptical about Aaron Rodgers’ ability to lead the team.
No, the jersey-burning level of anger didn’t escalate until he put on that purple uniform. That’s when Favre crossed the line.
And perhaps Carucci, being the sports “journalist” that he is, doesn’t quite get that.
“Murphy should have been able to gather by the applause he received after mentioning the organization’s intentions to retire Favre’s number,” writes Carucci, “that a sizable number of Green Bay fans still have a special place for him in their collective heart.”
Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps a lot of fans still hold Favre with admiration and respect.
This one doesn’t.
This fan has a hole in his heart where that “special place” used to be. Watching Brett Favre and the Vikings sweep the Packers in 2009 destroyed whatever esteem I still held for him. And when he claimed that his Vikings team was the best he had ever played with, my mind was made up that he held no love for the Packers or their fans. He had finally turned his back on Green Bay completely.
Despite all this, Carucci is right that fans will forgive Favre, “even if they won’t forget.” When the old gunslinger returns to Lambeau field after saying that magic word, most of us will welcome him back.
Because deep, deep down in our hearts, that’s how we want to remember him.
We want to remember Brett Favre as the face of the Packers’ rebirth. We want to remember all of the good times, the frustrations, and the wild emotions of watching him play for the green and gold. We want to remember Favre standing alongside Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, and Reggie White as the group who reclaimed Titletown.
We don’t want to lose that part of our history to bitterness and regret.
That’s why Mark Murphy was given the applause he received on the Tailgate Tour. He gave the fans hope and reassurance that this mess would be cleaned up in due time.
“Eventually, he’ll come back into the fold,” Murphy said. “He deserves that for what he did as a Packer.”
The last thing Murphy was doing, however, was setting a timeline.
Carucci doesn’t seem to understand this. He seems to think the Packers should extend to Favre “an honor he deserves as soon as possible.” He even writes that “Packers fans are waiting.”
Well, you’re almost right, Vic. Packers fans are waiting. But they’re not waiting for Mark Murphy or Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy. They are waiting for Brett Favre. They are waiting for him to admit what he has done wrong, for him to apologize to the loyal fans he shunned when he donned the enemy’s colors.
Then, and only then, will we begin to forgive.
“[Having your number retired is] a very, very meaningful honor,” remarked Murphy on the Tailgate Tour, “and we want to do it at a time when it’s meaningful for both [Favre] and the organization.”
To put it simply, a chasm of hard feelings this wide and this deep cannot be crossed quickly. You are not going to be buying your ex-wife a birthday present a year after she stops sleeping with the man who used to be your best friend.
No, this level of reconciliation takes time.
Brett Favre deserves to have his number retired. Yet he doesn’t deserve expediency simply for being a football legend or a diva. Packers fans will formally recognize what he did for the team, but only when Favre recognizes what he did to them.——————Follow @ChadToporski