NFL Fans: Stop Hating on Brett Favre

Sam FogelgarenCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2009

HOUSTON - AUGUST 31:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during pre-game warm-up prior to the preseasn game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 31, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

In an NFL offseason that seemed to fade away quicker than Randy Moss running a fade route, one topic is still mentioned: Brett Favre coming out of his retirement(s). 

Favre, 39, has retired and un-retired twice in the last two seasons, citing the lack of motivation to play. 

His first retirement was that teary eyed, straight from the heart, press conference that Packer fans all across the globe taped. 

After months of speculation, Favre insisted he would come back for the right offer. After many PR battles with the Packers, which includes the Packers offering him a 10-year annuity which would pay him $20 million in total if he stay retired, Favre decided to come out of his retirement to play for the New York Jets.

Then, Favre retired for a second time. It wasn't teary eyed, it wasn't nearly as emotional, but it was a retirement. 

Of course, with a Brett Favre retirement, there were rumors. Many speculated that the Minnesota Vikings would be interested in Favre's services.

That speculation was proven when Vikings head coach Brad Childress traveled to Favre's hometown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi to talk to Favre about the possibility of coming out of retirement. 

Then, it became official, during the beginning of the 2009 preseason: Brett Favre was back. This time, with the Minnesota Vikings. 

Favre's retirement, un-retirement "scheme" has been criticized by many sportscasters around the country, with no good reason. 

Many say he was disloyal to the Packers.

Let's look at the Packers situation before Mr. Favre arrived, shall we?

It's 1991 in Green Bay. The Packers haven't been to they playoffs in nine seasons, and they haven't won 10 games in 19 seasons. Then a man named Brett Favre comes to town, and takes the Packers to the playoffs 11 times, including to two Super Bowls, winning one. 

Don't the Packers owe this guy a whole lot? After all, he brought back the winning spirit to Green Bay, one that hasn't been there since the Vince Lombardi days. At the very least, don't the Packers need to let this guy do what he wants? 

So what if he wants to play for the Packers rival team? He revamped that entire organization, and that is enough.

Many say that since he retired, he should stick to his commitment.

Excuse me?

Let's take a look at some other star players who have retired and then un-retired who you don't hear about as much as Favre.


Magic Johnson

In 1991, Johnson announced he had HIV and retired. He then came back to play in the 1992 All-Star game, in which he scored 25 points and was named the MVP. He then went on to play for the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics, and then, tried to stage another NBA comeback. After playing the preseason for the Lakers, he was forced to retire due to pressure from fellow players. Then, he staged another comeback, this time in 1996. After playing 32 games for the Lakers, Johnson retired for good. 

Obviously, you can't criticize Johnson for anything. In fact, you should applaud him for not only coping with his disease extraordinarily, but trying to play professional basketball with it, and without the support of his fellow players. 

Nevertheless, Johnson retired three times.


Roger Clemens

The year was 2003, and Clemens, at age 40 had just achieved 300 wins, and figured it was time to retire. The Yankees gave him a Yankee goodbye, with a huge celebration after the last game of the season, and a brand new Hummer (like Clemens couldn't afford to buy one himself with his $10 million salary). Of course, Clemens came back the very next year with the Houston Astros and won the Cy Young award.

The decision was obviously influenced by former teammate and best friend Andy Pettitte's decision to go to the Astros, but regardless, he retired and un-retired, and nobody's talking about it. Plus, he got a Hummer. Brett Favre never got a Hummer from the Packers. He didn't even get his number retired.


Michael Jordan

Jordan was just 29 when he retired for the first time, after the 1992-1993 season in which the Chicago Bulls won their third consecutive NBA Championship. His reasons for retiring include the recent death of his father and an interest in playing professional baseball.

After a short stint for a team in the Chicago White Sox organization, Jordan came right back to basketball, and subsequent to Jordan's return was another three consecutive championships for the Bulls.

After the 1997-1998 season, at the age of 34, Jordan retired once again, citing that he wasn't sure if Phil Jackson would return as coach among other reasons. 

Jordan became an executive for the Washington Wizards, and in 2001-2002, decided he wanted to play again. He played two seasons with the Wizards before retiring for a third time.

So now you have seen three star athletes of the last 30 years who have retired, un-retired, then retired, and in some cases, un-retired and retired again. And what about Lance Armstrong? He retired in 2005 and he came back and did the Tour De France this year.

So people who are hating on Brett Favre, stop. Let the man do what he pleases. 

As my dad says about Brett Favre, "If the guy can still play at 40, god bless him and let him play."