Brett Favre: Does Race Factor In Why Favre Gets Special Treatment?

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2010

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - AUGUST 18: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre addresses the media at a press conference after the first morning practice since returning to Vikings Winter Park on August 18, 2010 in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Favre injured his ankle last year and had been reportedly considering retiring after one season with the Vikings.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Brett Favre is playing the media like a fiddle.  Weeks ago he allegedly sent texts to teammates saying he was retiring.  Yesterday he announces he’s coming back.  Without question, Favre is the true diva of the NFL as he enters his 20th season.

I say big deal.

Don’t get me wrong, Favre is a great quarterback.  He has every major statistical record there is for quarterbacks.  But at the end of the day, he has the same amount of Super Bowls as Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Trent Dilfer, Peyton Manning, and Kurt Warner.

Just one.

I’m sick and tired of Favre getting the benefit of the doubt from the media.  I’m sick and tired of the media catering to Favre like he has the rings of Joe Montana and the stature of Tiger Woods in American sports.

Favre gets handled with care because his legend has been carefully crafted and manufactured by the media.  He’s the consummate modern-day soap opera in sports. 

One of the preeminent reasons Favre gets preferential treatment is because of his white complexion. 

Yeah, I said it.

What if Favre’s teammate Adrian Peterson said he didn’t want to attend training camp? As arguably the best running back in football do you think he could pull a “Favre” and get away with it?

If Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco told the Cincinnati Bengals they were skipping training camp the media would likely cover the story in a negative light.  Even though Owens and Ochocinco have never been in trouble they are the benefactors of negative press coverage.

What if Donovan McNabb told Mike Shanahan he could study the new offense from his home in Arizona do you think that would fly with the Washington Redskins organization?

Part of the latter decisions hinge on how those organizations are ran.  But an unspoken and subconscious part of that determination is race-based.

Favre is endeared by the media because of how he’s treated.  African-American stars in professional sports rarely get the royal treatment because they are subject to a different set of rules by sports journalists. 


According to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports 88 percent of the mainstream sports writers in this country are white.  Whites typically cover athletes differently because of a combination of race and how open their minds are.

Favre gets preferential treatment because he’s been portrayed as the guy who is above the law.  Favre can do no wrong with his “all schucks” routine where African-American stars cannot get such a pass.

Haynesworth is one of the premier defensive linemen in the NFL yet he was humiliated by the Washington Redskin organization.  How come Favre doesn’t have to perform a series of unnecessary fitness tests like Albert Haynesworth was forced to do?

Let me digress.

When LeBron James bolted for the allure of South Beach over Cleveland many fans, both African-American and white, were irate.  But when Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert issued “The Statement” after James issued “The Decision” a segment of the African-American community shifted their focus from James’ decision to leave to the racial undertones of Gilbert’s rant.

Some, myself included, felt Gilbert was angered because his most prized slave had run away to another plantation.  He felt scorned by his most prized possession leaving him for another master.  It was as if Gilbert was suggesting, “How dare you leave me after all I’ve done for you!”

Then there’s Brett Favre: He holds the Minnesota Vikings hostage and media covers him with kid gloves.  He’s revered for his antics as he kept the Vikings waiting in the wings because he’s depicted as a warrior where James was criticized by many for being a runaway slave.

What’s with the double-standard?

What if Favre decided not play this season?  Do you think the mainstream media would hammer Favre?

Do you think the Vikings organization would pull a “Dan Gilbert” on Favre?

I assert no.

As a fan I don’t roll with Brett Favre because of the consistent hype.  But I must admit I was happy to see him stick it to the Green Bay Packers because I think they shifted Favre.

Professionally it’s another matter.  Favre, along with Peyton Manning, can do no wrong in court of public opinion.  No one talks about Manning walking off the field and refusing to shake hands with any New Orleans Saints after his interception sealed the loss for the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.  The media chalks up his unacceptable behavior as Manning just being a great competitor.

If Donovan McNabb did the same thing as Manning would the media coverage be the same?

In closing, Favre is the poster-boy of guts and glory.  He’s hailed as being a “mans man” because he’s started every game he’s been in since 1992.  Favre is depicted as a “gunslinger” when he throws interceptions that cost his teams games.  His errors are spun in the media as a positive attribute.

Favre without question is a great player. But part of his greatness has been manufactured. Favre can make the connection due to his complexion with those who comprise the media.

What do you think?



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