Hostage Negotiations

Geoff TownsendAnalyst IJuly 28, 2008

Do you remember the days when "I quit" meant something? 

John Elway meant it. 

Barry Sanders did too.

Even Dan Marino said it and continued down his path toward NutriSystem fame.

Even when retirement is not at the forefront, players have become more and more aggressive in their tactics when it concerns their individual future.

Over-hyped and overpaid, today's players and their arrogant agents have effectively used hostage tactics to acquire the outcome they desire, whether that is a new contract or a trade.

Kobe Bryant leveraged his star power into scaring the Los Angeles Lakers enough that they traded for his supporting cast.  Bryant made it very clear that his intention was to play on a team that was building and winning.  Only after he threatened management, did the team get serious in bringing in real talent.

Terrell Owens publicly berated quarterback Donovan McNabb and coach Andy Ried in Philadelphia before he was traded away.

Even draft picks are becoming more and more aggressive in their demand for money.  JaMarcus Russell, 2006's number one draft pick, held out through training camp last year-a season in which he played in a total of four games-because he felt he was deserving of top-pick money.

It has become a game of dares and calling bluffs.  Brett Favre has announced his intentions to return to the NFL but has not filed the necessary paperwork to even be listed on a roster.

Ted Thompson, the General Manager of the Green Bay Packers, has said that Brett is welcome at camp and can work in camp as the second string quarterback, only to change his mind and insist that Favre is not permitted on the premises.

With tensions this high and everyone waiting idly by for Favre to actually sign the paperwork he needs to sign to be reinstated to the league, I question the motives of a player everyone considered a class act and a true representation of a sportsman.

After 16 seasons in Green Bay, Favre is holding hostage the team that stood by him through rough seasons and family issues alike.  Brett was the Packers' Golden Boy.  He was viewed as a deserving, loyal recipient of a number retirement ceremony.

Not only has Favre completely turned his back on the Packer faithful (who, ironically enough, have also turned their backs to him) but he has allowed his reputation to be marred by his greed and desire to win this fight.

The last play of Favre's career (prior to this reinstatement fiasco) was a horribly thrown interception and eventual loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game, yet Green Bay embraced their surrogate son with open arms and congratulated him on a career that many view as one of the best ever.

Unfortunately for Favre, though, is that now he falls into much darker company.  He has joined the ranks of the whining, tantrum-throwing, and the greedy.  He is no better than Javon Walker, the player who Favre berated for the way he handled his contract negotiations.

“If Javon wants to know what his quarterback thinks, and I would think he might, I’d tell him he’s going about this the wrong way,” Favre told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “When his agent tells him not to worry about what his teammates think and all that stuff, I’d tell him I’ve been around a long time and that stuff will come back to haunt you.”

-April, 2005

It is ironic that the same player who chastised another for his malice and his greed now joins his ranks.

Brett, you made this mistake.  Handle it like a man and remember, this stuff tends to come back around to haunt you.