Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The A,B,C's of the News - "B" is for Brett

All I wanted to do was learn more about Super Bowl XLV which was played back on Feb. 6 in the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

Even though I was supposedly Van Winkled and "asleep" at the time, I already knew very well that the Green Bay Packers had won. There had been no way keep that news from assaulting me.

There's something about sports that makes Americans less than reticent. On Super Bowl day we wear our team favorites on our sleeves even more than we do politics, religion, or favorite musical groups.

Nick Collins intercepts. Puts the Pack ahead 14-0
The day after the game, the cheeseheads (including those West Texans around here who had temporarily adopted Wisconsin and yellow and green as their ideal), were very happy. As for the Steeler fans you could tell that there was no joy to be had.

That still didn't convey to me what I really wanted to know. Had The Van Winkle Project caused me to miss a really great game? Something on par with that miraculous drive by the Giants a few years ago when Eli Manning connected on fourth down in traffic, leading to the game winning touchdown against the previously undefeated Patriots?

So eight months after the fact I read up on the game. Final score: 31-25. Analysis: a good game, not a great game.

It seems the Packers, (a 10-6 regular season, number six seed playoff team, no less!) were in control all the way, with the exception of when the Steelers made things tight in the fourth quarter. In the end the Steelers were done in by a fumble and Ben Roethlisberger's two passes that were intercepted, one early in the game being returned for a touchdown.

Was this really it for Brett? A retirement that sticks?
Somewhere during my clicking around on the web I experienced my own kind of interception. I saw a link to Brett Favre, the Packers' once great quarterback.

Oh yes, I suddenly remembered. One of my speculations when I began the Van Winkle Project had involved Favre.

I already knew that "the quarterback who has trouble retiring" was coming back for another season with the Vikings. He had nearly taken to the Vikes to the Super Bowl the previous year.

How had Favre held up? How had the Vikings done? Had he finally retired? For good?

Instead, of answers to these questions, I learned about the Brett Favre sexting scandal.

B: Brett - Dateless, Desperate (and armed with a cell phone)
All one has to do is google Brett Favre and his status is at last impeccably clear. His website is labeled:

Only this August Brett retired. Yes, folks. Really!

This website also has a banner headline "The NFL's Winningest Quarterback" (is "winningest" a word?) and many tabs that offer the opportunity to buy memorabilia or even have Brett send your friend a birthday greeting.

But let's not linger over Web 2.0 marketing.

Back at our google results one also learns of the bad news that was facing Favre a year ago when details of the sexting news broke at deadspin.com.

Brett Favre’s Cellphone Seduction Of Jenn Sterger 

Ms. Sterger. Harrassed, but she never met Favre.
And because stories like this sometimes refuse to die, it does not surprise me one wit that my research indicates that months later there was more air exhaled into the media balloon:

- An NFL investigation found a violation of  the players' code of conduct and hit Favre with a $50,000 fine in January. 

- Two female massage therapists for the Jets sued Favre for sexual harassment because they too were sexted (is that the past tense of the verb?).

- Jenn Sterger, Jets "game day hostess", who had been the original source of the accusations made an appearance on Good Morning America in April.

What do we now know? This was no fairy tale or shakedown. Back in 2008 Brett was hitting on women. He was using a mobile device.

He proudly filmed digital images of his reproductive organs and sent them to the object of his lust.

What a way to impress a gal. It might have made a caveman envious.

The best explanation for this kind of sleazy behavior heard didn't come from Brett. It was someone with the Jets who observed that the guy was a long ways from home. "Maybe he was lonely." And doesn't everyone know, the more lonely you are, the more pathetic you can be?
Judgment Day
There's really nothing to say for or against Mr. Favre at this point.

He's another athlete who was sold to us as a person of note. A fiery competitor. Also, we were led to believe, a family man and a soft and fuzzy Wrangler's jeans kind of guy off the field.

Consider how he "courted" his long-time girlfriend for 12 years before marrying her. The birth of his two daughters. This info is at: http://www.favre4sale.com/ along with wonderful opportunities to try Brett's jambalaya recipe and buy lots of neat stuff!

You see, Brett's from Mississippi. Doesn't that just scream family values? Listen to one of their Congressmen (who defeated the 10-term Democrat during the 2010 mid-term elections while I was asleep). Rep. Steven Palazzo says:

A born and raised Mississippian, I’ve learned that two of the most important issues to our state are family and the Christian faith. I understand the importance of traditional Mississippi values, and I plan to keep all of these values in mind when I represent the Fourth Congressional District in Washington, D.C. Because of my beliefs and the shared beliefs of those in our wonderful state, I will fight in Washington to protect life, the sanctity of marriage, and our Mississippi values.


Dad and family, including the loyal wife who happens
to be a breast cancer survivor.
This week our son is supposed to deliver a monologue in his 8th grade theater class. Perhaps knowing that this particular 13-year-old has zero interest in any sports, the teacher selected a short speech that he could deliver with true feeling.

                    Our son's monologue script. Highlight added to facilitate memorization.

The gist of it is, why do we idolize people beyond their obvious physical gifts that they manifest in competition? Why assume there's anything else worthy about the person other than a strong arm or good reflexes or 300 pounds of muscle that can move other mountains of flesh?

In other words, the athlete as role model is a misguided proposition. I'm willing to bet Attila the Hun was a great athlete. And who knows? He may have been more articulate than some of these folks we shove microphones in front of and ask for their post-game thoughts.It wouldn't be all that hard. But Attila as role model? Forget about that!

Of course, I don't want to be quoted on any of this. I'm not trying to be a role model for anyone. But I will tell you one thing about my cell phone usage. I always keep it above waist level. - A.H.

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