I liked Brett Favre for most of his career, and I still think he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. However I soured on him in recent years when he forced us to go through this will he or won’t he play charade. Step up, make a decision, and stand behind it like a man. However now he has himself in some deeper water than just fence-sitting on whether or not he’s going to play. We all know what’s going on, so I’m not going to re-hash the entire story. But as the title suggests, are they really going to take down every hero we’ve ever had in America…?
…first off, who’s they? The media? The law? The government? Perhaps a bit everything mixed together. There’s no question that we now live in a different world than we did even a decade ago. IF Brett Favre did what he’s being acussed of doing, it was wrong. Not only was it inappropriate for an employee of the New York Jets to do what he did (to a fellow employee), but it was wrong more importantly by his wife. I firmly believe in the institution of marriage, and if I were lucky enough at this stage of my life to have someone with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my days, I can guarantee that I would never cheat on her. (As a single guy that struggles to meet women, I deeply resent people that find someone and then stray.) With that said, I don’t think that what Favre is acussed of doing is unlike things that have happened in any other professional locker room since the beginning of professional sports. Everytime an athlete such as Favre or Tiger Woods is found with his hand in the cookie jar, the powers-that-be seem to take an attitude of we got the dirty fool. We then seem to act as if the person involved is the worst human being on the planet; the hidden message is often that this guy is the only one to have done something like this. Again, are they going to destroy all of our heros?
We’d all be lying to ourselves if we thought that the athletes/celebrities that were caught doing this kind of thing were the only ones to have ever done it. However when someone is caught doing this, we also see media and in some cases the law working almost endlessly to “cover” the story. In some cases the translation of that is that they work endlessly to rip the person to shreds. Again, I have little to no sympathy for any person that cheats on his wife. However I also recognize that one spouse being unfaithful is a situation that should be handled by and between the couple and not in the media. I suppose that if you live in the public eye and you get caught doing something inappropriate you have to expect a certain amount of media scrutiny. However…are they really going to destroy all of our heros?
In my opinion this trend began in 1998-’99 when President Bill Clinton got caught with Monica Lewinsky. That situation seemingly changed all of the rules with regard to how this kind of thing was handled by the media, as well as the law. Without getting specific, enemies of one man (President Clinton) used technicalities in the law to turn cheating on your wife into a federal case. And the media played right along. Many other Presidents had done the exact same thing, but the media granted an executive priviledge so to speak, and never reported it. However once even the President’s sex life was fair game, that changed things for the rest of us as well. And again, if you’re in the group with Tiger Woods and Brett Favre and you live your life in the public eye, you can expect that you’ll have every part of your life scrutinized.
I don’t want to go overboard with this, because I also recognize that the media and the law have a job to do. And I’m not even saying that the law shouldn’t be involved when athletes/public figures screw up. If they do something that’s blatantly illegal, they need to be prosecuted. But we’re not talking about a crime in the case of Brett Favre. And incidentally, I’m not necessarily talking about “mainstream media” such as ESPN, MASN, CNN, CBS, etc. I’m talkng about outlets such as Deadspin, TMZ, etc; the modern day paparazzi. At the end of the day we end up with a “hero” like Brett Favre or Tiger Woods who’s been dragged through the mud to the point that we almost forget all of the good things that he’s done in his sports career. To use a more local example, people have almost ceased to remember what a great basketball player Gilbert Arenas can be due to his off-the-court problems. Furthermore, it’s almost as if his numerous charitable acts in the area were forgotten…because he brought a weapon into a locker room. (I’m not saying that what he did was right, but let’s be fair…)
Ultimately, any person (athletes or otherwise) that makes a mistake should have to attest for it. However I would say that you shouldn’t have to attest for it in an overwhelming manner and in public at that. Did Tiger Woods really need to come before TV cameras and appologize for cheating on his wife? The way I see things he owed a major appology to his wife (and obviously they’re now divorced), but not to the public. The same is true for Brett Favre, IF he did what he’s accused of doing. Cheater or not, Favre should still be considered one of the greatest QB’s of all time. He’s a guy that presumably made a mistake, and will have to attest to it with his wife. And that’s the only person with whom he should attest to it. However again, are they going to destroy all of our heros?