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"Well, then they really didn't love me in the first place. Whatever. Nothing I can do about it. ..."
-- Brett Favre, responding to a question by SI.com's Peter King in late July about fans who don't love him anymore.
I loved Brett Favre.
Now I don't.
To him, this is impossible. Either I love him unconditionally and forever, or I didn't really love him in the first place. Apparently, this is how he thinks.
To that, I'd like to address No. 4 with a series of four-letter words. (Too bad this is a family newspaper).
I can't say I've loved many athletes in my life (you know, in the way a fan can actually love an athlete). But the relationship between Green Bay Packers fans and Brett Favre has always been different, unique in a way that might only possible in Wisconsin, where the people own the franchise.
I should know. I was born and raised in Milwaukee; I own a share of Packers stock; and nearly every fall and winter of my adolescence was marked by Sundays with Brett Favre.
Over 16 seasons, it became impossible for me - for all Packers fans - not to love him. To walk into Lambeau Field and to watch him play for our team, for us, was to fall in love in a way that's rare in the information age.
Heroes are hard to come by now, when we learn everything about everyone in the public eye. But the more we learned about Favre - his weaknesses, his grief, his struggles - the more we loved him.
The connection between Favre and Packers fans has been explored ad nauseum over the years but, suffice it to say, it was real and now it's dead.
Watching him wear a purple helmet makes me angry, bitter, disgusted, and hateful. Most of all, it makes me sad.
Brett Favre as a Viking taints so many of my memories and destroys so much of his legacy that it makes the boy inside me want to cry. I feel a little sheepish admitting this, but I'm heartbroken.
For him to say that I never truly loved him (because I don't love him now) is just another insult from a man who has evolved into a lying, selfish, egomaniacal narcissist.
After everything that's happened, we are not the ones who should be admonished by him. He is the one who is betraying us.
If he really wanted to play, and keep his legacy intact, he could have stayed with the Jets. Favre in the AFC was something we could handle.
But all along, he wanted to play for Minnesota. All along, he wanted to stick it to Ted Thompson. All along, he wanted to come back to the NFC North and beat the Packers.
What he forgets, or ignores, or is too insulated to understand, is that beating the Packers means beating the fans. Ted Thompson will be gone someday, along with Mike McCarthy and everyone else currently working and playing for the organization. But we, the owners, will remain.
We are the ones who will remember this, and our children, and their children, will know that Brett Favre was one of the greatest Packers of all-time, but a traitor in the end.
He says we must have never really loved him, but his actions have made it clear -- he never really loved us.
Now, we wish him the worst of luck, and if all goes well, a lifetime of regret.
August 18, 2009; 8:43 PM ET
Green Bay Packers
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Posted by: StatMan007 | August 19, 2009 3:29 AM
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