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An Open Letter to the Mainstream Media About Brett Favre

Dear Mainstream Sports Media Types,

We're really not that different, you and I.  We've all been given a medium to express our opinions about sports, and we've all done so with varying degrees of success.  While many of you have been given an opportunity to work for major newspapers or television stations, I'm just some guy with a computer and an opinion that's been fortunate enough to latch on to the best network of sports blogs in the industry.  To be quite honest about it, a lot of you out there are the inspiration and the impetus behind what I do here at this site on a regular basis, and for that I thank you.

However, I feel that something needs to be said about the coverage of the Brett Favre situation that has arisen in recent weeks.  Not the fact that there's a ton of coverage of it, because that's the way it should be, whether we like it or not.  Big names get more ink than smaller names, and I understand that.  Rather, it's the tone and the tenor that this coverage has taken that leaves me with some cause for concern.

Allow me to explain.

As someone that has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings for as long as he's been able to grasp the basic concepts of football, I've had a long and healthy dislike for Brett Favre.  Was it due to the fact that he was always beating the Minnesota Vikings?  Well. . .not really.  Until the latter part of his stint in Green Bay, Favre had never been terribly successful against the Vikings, and in fact has turned in some of the worst performances of his career against my Beloved Purple.

Was it because he was the face of the league for a while and is regarded as one of the best players in the history of the NFL?  Certainly not.  I understand that big names will get that sort of spotlight, and that the Vikings have had a couple of those players over the course of their history.  Honestly, I've seen some of the all-time greats line up against the Vikings over the years I've been watching them. . .names like Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Reggie White, Mike Singletary, and so forth. . .and I didn't have the active disdain for any of them that I've harbored for Brett Favre.

No, the reason for my dislike of Brett Favre during my time as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. . .and I dare say that I speak for a lot of other Viking fans as well when I say this. . .is this.

I've been watching NFL football for a quarter of a century now. . .and over the course of those 25 years, no player in the history of the National Football League has had more excuses made for them or had their derriere kissed on a more frequent basis than the man that many simply refer to as "#4."  It may have been enhanced somewhat by being a fan of a rival team, but it isn't just Viking or Bear or Lion fans that feel this way about the guy, and I'm sure that many of those fans would attest to that.

It's not just a couple of mainstream media outlets that I'm focused on here, either, quite frankly.  Everyone from Peter King to Joe Buck to ESPN to the complete sycopanths at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Green Bay Press Gazette. . .you all had a role in creating this monster.

When Brett Favre went out against the St. Louis Rams in the playoffs in 2002 and threw an NFL post-season record six interceptions, he went out in the post-game press conference and proceeded to throw his entire receiving corps, and in particular Bill Schroeder, under the bus.  And you let him do it.

When he went out against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004 and, in the face of a blitz, proceeded to throw a pass 30 yards over the head of receiver Javon Walker for an interception, who did you folks blame?  It certainly wasn't Brett Favre. . .it was Javon Walker for not catching a pass that Renaldo Nehemiah wouldn't have caught up to.

When he faced the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 and completely stunk up Lambeau Field for four quarters, including underhanding a pass after being five yards over the line of scrimmage because he was scared to get hit, all you could do is remind us repeatedly about how much fun Brett Favre was having.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Favre was the only guy in NFL history that actually enjoyed playing the game.

When he spent the entire 2006 season looking horrible and turning the ball over 36 times, the blame didn't go to #4. . .it immediately went to his "supporting cast."

In the eyes of the mainstream media, Brett Favre spent 15 years doing absolutely no wrong, whether it was on the field or off the field.  And if you don't think he heard all those excuses that you all were making for him, I've got some ocean front property in South Dakota you might be interested in purchasing.  All of you gave Brett Favre the impression that he was running the franchise in Green Bay.  All of you gave Brett Favre the impression that he was bigger than any team in the league, and frankly bigger than the league itself.

And now you're "tired of the Favre saga?"  Now you think it's pathetic and sad that the man is doing this?  Please.

I hate to break the news to all of you, but you created this monster.  Sure, superstars should be treated a bit differently than your average player, but the way you treated Brett Favre for the majority of his career was above and beyond all of that.  How can you possibly be surprised by the way he's acting now after the way that all of you have chosen to enable him for the better part of his NFL career?

I don't know if Brett Favre is going to end up a member of the Minnesota Vikings.  None of you know and, quite frankly, he probably doesn't know right now either.  And whether he joins the Vikings or not, it won't change the fact that he's a primadonna or a jackass or a diva.  But, by God, much like Randy Moss during the time he was in Minnesota, for that one year he'll be our primadonna, our jackass, and our "diva."  Some will embrace him, some will revile him, and some (like myself) don't know even now where they'd stand on such a situation.

But, please. . .drop the faux outrage and anger over the entire situation playing out the way it has.  Again, you were the enablers in this relationship, and if you don't like where it's gone, you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

Christopher Gates
Head Blogger, and lifelong Minnesota Viking fan