Friday, August 8, 2008

Brett Favre...Not So Fast.

There’s only one downside to employing someone who is with you for so long, does their job so well, is liked and admired by so many and becomes the iconic face of your company…letting them go. Imagine the public relations nightmare that would create. Yet star employees eventually reach their golden years and wise companies anticipate this eventual void, all the while preparing and grooming a younger successor, as they should. And so, as the new protégé is trotted out to meet the paying customers, management usually begins to assuage the disharmony by sly, although not so subtle references to the retirement party. Your retirement party! There’s talk of parades, fireworks and A list guests coming in on private jets; even a golden bust molded in your honor. You want the keys to the city; you’ve got ‘em.

And so it went for a man for whom I have the ultimate respect and admiration. A gunslinger from Mississippi who dazzled us not only with his extraordinary athletic feats and his aw shucks personality, but with his unwavering determination to give his employer and his customers every ounce he had. Keep in mind this is a man who hasn’t missed a day of work in 17 years; and he hasn’t been sitting behind a desk. Through personal matters of death and cancer and rehab, he did what for so many of us is an all consuming chore; to get up, go to work and do your best; all day, every day. To say it was easy because he was paid handsomely and he was doing something he loved may be accurate but misses the point. He’s an ethical man, win or lose, rich or broke.

After all of the backslapping, praise singing and well wishing, it took Brett Favre about three weeks of sitting around Kiln last Spring to realize that come August he was going to miss going to work, seeing his colleagues and enjoying his customers, the fans. However, I believe this to be the time when it began to sink in that this party being planned up North in Green Bay, this was a funeral and ‘ol number 4 had helped pick out the clothes he’d be wearing. I can hear Ted Thompson now, “What do you think of this tie with that shirt?”

I’m glad to see that Brett Favre has rejected the plea bargain he once reluctantly took from Packer management and is again playing in the NFL. Every Sunday this season my grandchildren will see a man go to work and behave like a champion, win or lose. They’ll see a guy who doesn’t need the money work like he has no idea where his next meal is coming from. And they’ll see a guy who was being ushered out because of a “change in direction” and amidst a barrage of distorted public perception and sentiment, turn around and say “That’s fine. I’ll take my talents elsewhere.”! Good for you Mr. Favre! Way to stay in the pocket!

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