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Brett Favre, the Media Pimp
Unless you live an entirely media-free life (in which case you wouldn’t be reading this), you’ve heard the latest from Brett Favre. Doctors have told the Minnesota Vikings quarterback that if he is to return for a 20th professional season, he will need surgery on his left ankle.
According to multiple reports, Favre faces a choice: Either undergo the procedure and return to the Vikings, or retire and end his 19-year NFL career. The NFL’s triple most valuable player is said to be weighing his options.
Favre’s ankle, injured in the 2009 NFC Championship game, is still swollen and still hurting. He sent the test results to famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who felt that Favre could not perform without the operation.
“We talked,” Favre said in an email. “To play again, I would need surgery, as I suspected. This decision would be easy if it wasn’t for my teammates and the fans and all of the Vikings staff. One year really felt like 10 – a kinda like Green Bay for many years. That’s what was missing in my heart, I guess, a sense of belonging.’
What does this look like to you? Has Brett Favre finally come to terms with the fact that even he isn’t immune to the ravages of age and is seriously considering retirement? Or does it look like he’s leaning the other way, eyeing another comeback, a legitimate Super Bowl shot and a $12.5 million payday?
It seems to me that he will return. I think he’s going to get surgery, miss training camp (which he despises) and take one more hit in a Super Bowl win. This is my story, and I stick to it.
What strikes me most about this whole ordeal, however, is not Brett Favre’s health, nor the tough decision he must make over the next few months. What fascinates me is the fact that during the NFL offseason, right after the highly publicized NFL Draft, when the NBA Playoffs are in full swing, a 40-year-old quarterback still manages to garner such a large share of sports headlines.
Radio host and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Stephen A. Smith often calls Brett Favre a “media whore.”
I’m a huge Smith fan, and I listen to his clever bombardments almost every day of the week on the radio. I generally agree with his view of things. But in this case, I believe Stephen A. is wrong.
Without a doubt, Favre loves attention. He is at the end of a brilliant career, which will place him among the 10 best professional quarterbacks of all time. He’s been in the spotlight for most of his adult life, and he clings to it with his teeth and nails.
But Brett Favre is no media whore.
Brett Favre is a media pimp.
Let’s take a look at the pimping dynamic for a moment. The pimp tells the prostitute where to go and what to do. The pimp uses the prostitute to increase his personal wealth. And if the whore steps out of line, the pimp demands punishment.
Brett Favre has led the media by the nose for at least the past three years. He told them where to go and what to do once there. He most likely used the media to increase his personal wealth. And if a reporter has the temerity to question Favre’s motives, the quarterback has no problem cutting off the reporter’s access, which amounts to punishment.
Favre is by no means the only pimp of the media in this country. Most members of this species seem to reside in the world of politics. Many people would say that our president is one, and although I am one of a rapidly dwindling number of Obama supporters, I would have a hard time finding fault with that argument.
Media pimps are rare in the sports world, but they do exist. Tiger Woods is one. Michael Jordan, even retired, is one.
Brett Favre is one.
Wait a bit: this summer, Favre will undergo ankle surgery. It will show late in Minnesota Vikings training camp. He will start the regular season as the starting quarterback for the Vikings. And you’ll hear about every step he takes in that process, because the media will tell you about it.
Iceberg Slim would be proud.
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