Thursday, July 3, 2008

Word on the street


“It’s all rumor.” That was the quote from Brett Favre sent in a text message to the Biloxi Sun Herald about a possible return to the Packers this season. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (who incidentally was wondering what to do with career now that he can’t report Favre news everyday; maybe he and John Madden should open a Favre-themed amusement park) reported that Favre approached Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy at some point in the last two weeks and made inquiries about returning to the team this season. Is it true? Before I get to Favre specifically, let’s play rumor potpourri for a second, shall we…

Rumors in the sports world seem to bear fruit as often as not. Consider a few (semi-) recent rumors:

Golden State Warrior Point Guard Baron Davis was rumored to want to move to a Los Angeles team, to play in his hometown. While Davis didn’t deny that he wanted to someday play in LA, he stated he had no intentions of leaving the Bay Area. Even after he opted out of his contract this week (which doesn’t always mean a player wants to leave a team, just that he wants more money), he still made statements that Golden State was where he wanted to be and he expected to be a Warrior at opening tip this year. BUT, less than 24 hours after using that pro-Warrior language, Davis committed to the Los Angeles Clippers. The move essentially makes the Warriors the new Clippers in the West, and has given Clippers fans severe delusions of playoff success in the leagues toughest conference. Rumor Mill - 1, Golden State - 0.

Rumors have been swirling for about two years regarding the fate of the Seattle Supersonics. When the team was purchased by Oklahoma native Clay Bennett (after years of being very poorly run by two previous owners/front offices, I might add) in 2006, the rumors started to fly about the team possibly moving to the OK. But, Bennett and Seattle city officials reassured fans that they would get a deal done and keep the only major sports franchise in the history of the city to win a championship (1979, in case you are curious) on the west coast. Then, when it looked like a deal might not get done and the team would indeed move, Bennett came out and told the City of Seattle that the team would move to Las Vegas not Oklahoma City. One ESPN news story (April 28, 2007) stated, “Bennett has repeatedly said he'd rather keep the teams in the Seattle area, since it's a larger and more affluent market than Oklahoma City.” BUT, just yesterday, as the ink was drying on the deal, Bennett announced that today the team would immediately begin moving to Oklahoma City (starting with the players). The team is leaving its name behind in Seattle, which is all the city will have left after not being without an NBA presence for almost 50 years. However, the city remains hopeful that it can get another NBA franchise… Yeah, because that worked out so well with LA and the NFL. Rumor Mill – 2, Seattle – 0.

And then there are everybody’s favorite rumors, baseball players on steroids. Jose Canseco’s book was just that, one giant rumor. No one had one ounce of proof for any of the allegations made against other major leaguers, and Canseco was decried by ball players and fans alike as a washed-up, money-grubbing crackpot who would say anything to keep himself in the public eye and make a quick buck. But we know differently now, don’t we? I mean, we still know that Canseco is a washed-up, money-grubbing crackpot who would say anything to keep himself in the public eye and make a quick buck, but what we also know is that some of the games biggest stars (e.g., McGwire, Bonds, Clemens) are juicers. America’s favorite pastime, already hurting from low attendance and interest (particularly among America’s youth), was tarnished once again by something that was believed to be nothing more than a publicity stunt by a has-been narcissist. Rumor Mill – 3, Major League Baseball – 0.

So… With all that said, Brett, we know you mean it. We know it is not just a rumor. We know you have “the itch.” The phrase “don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining” was invented for situations just like this. Brett Favre coming back to the Packers would be bad on so many fronts: 1. Bad for Aaron Rogers, who is trying desperately not to be seen as Favre 2.0; 2. Bad for the Packers, who need to move into the post-Favre era and prove to their fans that they can win without him; and 3. Bad for Favre, as the legend (in my opinion) can do nothing but tarnish his image, ala Michael Jordan in his second return to basketball with the Wizards.

As a fan of both Favre and the Packers, I sincerely hope that things don’t keep moving in this direction, but, hey, it’s only a rumor, right…? Right?

-RP

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