Time For Brett Favre To File Grievance or For Mike Ditka To Step Up...Again

Patrick ReadSenior Writer IJuly 27, 2008

Goodell & Upshaw in Bed As Player Union is Idle.  

Time for a REAL Union Man - Coach Mike Ditka


Washington DC - July 26, 2008

The Green Bay Packer's General Manager is seemingly forcing Brett Favre's retirement instead of committing to the face of the franchise and letting Aaron Rodgers steadily get snaps to see if he can earn the job away from the Legend.

At risk is Favre's consecutive game streak and the Packers keeping the best quarterback in their history at Green Bay all while in the last year of Rodger's contract who has yet to play a game from start to finish, but enjoys the 12 million dollar pay check anyhow.  

These are the reasons Ted Thompson has just wished Brett out of existence and offered  NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, to insert his mediation skills; but where is the person who is supposed to help represent the players interests and not the owners?   

IN the off season the Player Union Reps from each team began to talk about the replacement of Gene Upshaw who is the NFLPA (Players Association) Director and is supposed to work for the players but has not been involved in the biggest player dilemma at all.  

Initiated by Matt Rover (Baltimore Union Rep) a league wide email went out addressing concerns over Upshaw and the issues the Union will face in the future against the league and the need to replace the current representative whose contract ends in 2010 as a no cap year ensues.   

Then it became clear as to why each team's union representative began to chime in on the replacement of Mr. Upshaw, though you will not hear this on ESPN and you will not read it in Rover’s email dated April 4th, 2008. 

What was not reported is the connection this email has to a action taken by Congress against both the NFL and the NFLPA on April 4th.

Upshaw and Goodell were negligent, as Congressman John Conyers will attest, to the ever so real and maybe most important of all union issues of ensuring the health of its membership, its retired players and its health care benefits process but people expect Goodell to represent Favre when he can barely keep the NFL out of trouble with lawmakers.

The issue was forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee which called on the NFL and its alleged Players Union to answer a question or ten about the health and records of its players, who suffer the ails of professional football well after their career and sometimes it is a life sentence.

Committee Chair Congressmen Johnny Conyers said of the last hearings regarding basic health issues, ““This report identifies major concerns about the long-term health of NFL players that demand further attention. The Committee intends to hold (more) hearings and explore possible legislation to address this matter.”

Committee Rep Sanchez said, “This report clearly demonstrates that the NFL and NFLPA…..needs to eliminate the "conflict of interest" by team doctors who place the financial interests of their teams ahead of players' health.”   Congress is even considering pulling the plug on the NFL’s Anti Trust Exemption which requires a level playing field and should demand basic civil rights for its players too.

The congressional report can be found here in PDF form. The testimony and supplemental evidence can be found here.

All this indicates that Gene Upshaw, who was cited along with Goodell for non cooperation, does not execute the best interests of the players he works for to represent as further made evidenced by his apparent disappearing act as Goodell is interfering with Brett Favre.   

Why is Roger Goodell, who represents the owners, even offering to "help" mediate the issue of Brett Favre, and where the hell is Upshaw – or is there another apparent “conflict of interest” here?

For those funny guys who think Favre is a “Teflon” anything you should note that Gene Upshaw reportedly took illegal loans from Union pockets – something one Jimmy Hoffa did as well and most know what happened to him.  So “Teflon” that one, my "Favre Haters” crowd.  Let’s not get all “gangster” on Favre, because the Gulfport Mississippian native is not the one.

This is where Mike Ditka can help players & maybe the best to mediate for Favre.


Certainly the best to resolve this issue is not the mute (moot) union man that is Upshaw.  Ditka called out Upshaw, Goodell and the NFL's health care process several times thus  proving his loyalty to the players and not his own wallet.  

Mike Ditka, long term player in the NFL and Coach as well has never been a “yes man” to anyone and has always spoken his mind.  As a matter of fact when Congress showed that the NFL Players suffer 8 times more long term health issues than any other sport (including hockey) they turned to Mike Ditka – who shot them straight about the extremely complex process in navigating the benefit system in the NFL, which was agreed to by the Union.

Mike Ditka proves his concern for players by his board membership to the Gridiron Greats, a charity formed to help ex-players who suffer.  He might be the best choice to replace Upshaw and has an active interest in protecting the player.  He and Upshaw have been at odds over what is best for them for a long and very verbal time. 

Since he has a real concern then he could show up to help a guy who has been doing battle for 16 long years.

                                              The Roller Coaster Ride.


Why did Green Bay care whether or not Favre was "100% committed to the '08 season" way back in March?  Either way McCarthy would have to field a team but he chose to tell Favre in March that The Packers were moving on with Rodgers. 

Subsequently, and maybe with the Pack knowing it would happen,  Favre retired to ESPN and Green Bay immediately put him on the reserve/retired list, which is where they want him, out of the game. 

Did Favre file documentation with them?

This very site  broke the news weeks ago that Favre never filed Official Retirement Documents and Teddy Thompson is forcing Favre to retire or just not  play while he is trying to use Roger Goodell to do his bidding for him.  How does one file for reactivation if one never filed retirement papers to begin with? 

Favre confirmed this fact recently when explaining why he has yet to formerly request re-activation by Goodell’s office, he reportedly said "I never filed retirement paperwork but Thompson wanted me to file to re-activate. I have signed the re-activation paperwork but am waiting to (send it in)." 

Technically Favre has more years left in Green Bay on his contract than does Rodgers.  Have they asked Aaron Rodgers "if he is 100% committed" to Green Bay beyond Favre's contract, especially in '09 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent?  Did he answer "no, not unless I play in '08?"

IF Green Bay is just moving on then why won't they release Favre and just move on?  By committing ever so slightly to Rodgers the Green Bay GM is basically saying that Aaron is the better quarterback, because it can not be that Rodgers is the future when he officially has 1 yr left on the team.

Favre  would have shown up at camp regardless of irrelevant paperwork but was then issued a verbal request (anything not written is suspect in all this) by Thompson not to be at camp so that he try and "see if (he) can work something out."

So Favre again simply asked Thompson for a release, then Green Bay wouldn't have to pay him his contracted salary and he would be free to go anywhere, like most Americans can.  Instead Thompson "locked out" Favre from Green Bay in an attempt to either make a boat load of money off of Favre's name or forcing him out by sitting him. 

Coach went on to say that if Brett showed up at camp that the Packers "do not know what would happen or what they would do come season time."  Basically meaning that Favre might not get beat out for the job by Rodgers at camp and in front of all the media and more importantly his team mates.  Favre told Thompson, "Let me compete, you know I will win the position."

Many say that Favre has just been trying to weasel out of training camp and Ditka could help in this issue too.  As four more Redskins claimed injury preventing them from camp everyone would do well to remember that some players die during these camps and then their families get a minuscule settlement offer.

As cute and funny an issue this may be for those parasites who make cash spoofing Favre in the media, all concerned should remember one thing - a player’s career is always limited by health (sometimes permanently) while the money made by owners, their “yes men,” share holders and parasitic media types who clear 7 figures from joking around about deadly serious issues last centuries.

Now it is not only health or ability that is limiting players to continue to play-it is forced retirement too.

# 4 could file a grievance and demand his release legally based on a intentional force to retire and end/own his streak or ask Ditka to mediate who is not an active participant or held liable to any in the NFL to settle this back and forth once and for all.

Favre’s Labor Lawyer could serve him well “right” about now because his career will not be able to last forever, even as some try to force it to be cut short while he is still a top 4 quarter back NFL wide and the best in the game’s history, of course this is not an opinion because the record shows it to be true.

No one is any closer to knowing where the great # 4 will end up starting; it could be The Pack, or the Vikings, maybe the Bears, could be "Chucky" and the Bucs, or the Jets and maybe it would be that Brett is re-united with former Head Coach Mike Holmgren.

Where else does someone not have the basic civil right to live and work in what stated they chose or if chosen to retire when they are ready?  The Bill of Rights covers most of this along with Anti - Age Discrimination Laws.


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