A Dark Knight: Brett Favre Lacks Class If He Returns Again
Human beings like to believe that all men and women are endowed with the ability to ask for forgiveness when they have wronged others, or grant forgiveness to others who have wronged them.
Nevertheless, we are a flawed species, not perfect. The reality is man possesses ugly, fatal flaws that lust for money, fame, power, and other passions which lead to his downfall time and again. History is witness, and Greek tragedy testimony to such harmartia.
In 2009 A.D., sports fans have been spectators to such figures that qualify for tragic heroic treatment that even Sophocles could use.
Such a figure is Brett Favre.
For the past 16 months, Favre once again has tormented himself with the question of his retirement from the gridiron.
Still fresh in collective memory is his tearful goodbye to Green Bay in March of 2008. Then, there was his controversial return to the field of battle last summer, but the Indian summer of his heroic achievements soon turned to nightmare before Christmas with the New York Jets.
Now, it's another summer of rumors that 'ole No. 4 is not ready to hang up the cleats and pads for a pair of hush puppies, a cigar, and a fishing rod.
Favre wants another comeback, this time with the Green Bay Packers' most hated rival: The Minnesota Vikings.
Favre in purple, not green.
The question remains: What is his real goal? To win a second Super Bowl? Probably. Most athletes want to go out the way John Elway departed in 1997 and 1998 with back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
But most assuredly, it's not the norm. Michael Jordan tried and failed. Roger Clemens tried too. Dan Marino wanted to try, but couldn't do it because of his battle-scared knees.
Or, is his motivation something darker, more disturbing? Could it be revenge?
Favre made it no secret last summer that he was angry at the Packers for not welcoming him back like a returning hero when he changed his mind in July, and it became obvious that the Packers had no choice but to move with Aaron Rogers as the team's starting quarterback.
Favre threatened he wanted to be traded to only the Vikings, or Chicago Bears—such a move would have occasioned the lives of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy to become miserable.
Nonetheless, the Packers finally rid themselves of Favre on Aug. 7, trading him to the Jets.
Favre wasn't done taking his anger to the Pack, as rumors surfaced in late September that Favre had called former Lions general manager Matt Millen to highlight some secret plays that the Packers usually gameplan for whenever they played the lowly Lions. That phone call didn't help the Lions much, who still went 0-16 for the season.
Then Favre's new team, the Jets, took center stage for the nation to see. Favre led the Jets to an 8-3 record through Thanksgiving, then orchestrated one of the greatest regular-season collapses in NFL history.
Rumblings from fellow teammates like Kerry Rhodes and Thomas Jones began to surface that Favre was always "distant" from his Jets teammates, rarely hanging out with them, rarely talking to them, and never showing any leadership when the team needed him the most.
On top of this, Favre played his final five games injured, refusing to take himself out of the game so that "his team" might have a better chance to win. As a result, the Jets finished 2008 at 9-7, and Eric Mangini lost his job as head coach.
Did Favre take any responsibility for what had occurred? Any remorse? No and no.
Instead, Favre had his sights set on returning to the field with the Vikings. Once the Jets let him go in April, Favre was a free man.
Now, he is toying with the Vikings.
He claims he is "unsure" how his newly-repaired right shoulder will react to the violence of throwing a football consistently, and he continues to tantalize the Vikings by telling them that he will come to a final decision before the end of the month on his playing status.
Meanwhile, the Vikings, who some think have the talent to compete for a World Championship, are trying to find ways to prepare for a season amid the distractions of the latest blockbuster summer sequel Favre Mania Redux.
Does Favre care about the Vikings? Does he feel any responsibility for permitting the 90-plus players at camp twist in the wind awaiting with bated breath on his decision? Probably not.
Favre just cares about Favre.
If Favre wanted to do the decent thing, he would come out today and announce his retirement. He would ask for forgiveness from the Green Bay Packers for causing them so much heartache last summer. He would apologize to the New York Jets for not giving them 110 percent all season long, and apologize to the Vikings for confusing them at the most critical time of the year for an NFL franchise.
Then, he should tuck tail and ride into the sunset the way heroes are supposed to do, not to return to the public view until his induction Canton six years from the day he finally retires.
Only then can the fans forgive Favre his harmartia.
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