My friend was lucky enough to score a ticket to last week's Monday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets. It was Brett Favre's first game after Deadspin.com broke the story about his attempted cell phone seduction of former Jets' game-day employee, Jenn Sterger.
If you haven't had the chance to read the story or watch the video, I can sum it up rather quickly. According to Deadspin's sources, Favre had the hots for Sterger, but she wasn't interested. Like many celebrated athletes who want something immediately, Favre persisted, inviting Sterger to come "chiell" (chill, in Mississippian) in his hotel room. When his plea failed, Favre sent pictures of his bedroom quarterback to try to change her mind.
My friend told me the Jets fans taunted their former quarterback at the New Meadowlands Stadium by chanting "It must have been cold, Brett" - a joke about the appearance of Favre's, umm ... stiff arm.
But it's not the size of his pistol that the gun-slinging quarterback needs to worry about. It's the size of his ego.
Favre has had several opportunities to leave football on a high note, but instead he screwed it up, in turn tarnishing his once revered status in NFL history. Kids growing up today won't know the Favre of my childhood: the fearless leader that was immune to pain, not to mention his notable performance in "There's Something About Mary." They'll remember the old man that sexted and couldn't hang 'em up.
So why wouldn't one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time leave football on his own terms? For the same reasons Tiger won't tell us what happened last Thanksgiving and Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of multiple sexual assaults. Favre, like Woods and Roethlisberger, feels entitled.
But I don't completely blame him for his ego trip. Favre's self-image is so enmeshed with his football persona that he can't permanently trade his shoulder pads for a pair of his beloved Wrangler jeans.
The media has a lot to do with it. Favre and other famous athletes have been elevated to deity-type levels. Unfortunately, when these sports stars find trouble, the media tears them down with an equaled intensity. But if the media didn't lift stars like Favre to such heights, would they fall so far?
Favre has been married 14 years, has two daughters, and as of this April became a grandfather. What grandpas do you know that actually pursue sideline reporters, even if they are former Playboy bunnies? Favre used terrible judgment at best, but it's almost understandable when you consider his adoring media coverage.
Football's chosen one must have reasoned that his ability to throw a perfect spiral gave him free reign to a perfect 10, but he was wrong.
Favre is yet another casualty of sports coverage in today's media. It's a tragedy I believe we'll see more frequently in the future, because the media is glorifying athletes at even younger ages with less proof of their talents. Sadly, the increased media pressure will lead more and more athletes toward incidents like Favre's.
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