I know, I know. I already ripped into Favre. So did Mike Vandermuse of the Green Bay Press Gazette. I'm probably making the whole thing worse by not letting it go. But I have to bring this up: isn't it just a little bit curious that ESPN, the self-proclaimed "world wide leader" in sports, didn't pick up this story when it came out?
As of right now, there is nothing on ESPN.com even coming close to mentioning the Glazer report or Favre's rebuttal. Absolutely nothing from Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. Three whole days passed, and the biggest sports media corporation kept it's mouth shut. Why?
The simple answer? There is none available, but we can figure it out. First off, let's establish this basic premise: ESPN loves Brett Favre. Or, in Favre's language, "omg espn <3 bf 4eva". Favre is a guaranteed ratings boost along any medium. Even Jemele Hill could get more views if she wrote a Favre story. (In case you couldn't tell, I hate Page 2's Jemele Hill. Everything is either about race or women. She's a female Stephen A. Smith, minus the gratuitous shouting.)
So why not chase the ratings on this story? Was it just ineptitude on the part of ESPN reporters? Absolutely not. At least not this time. According to Mike Florio of the Sporting News, it was the ESPN executives that instructed their editors to not report the story. Here's the memo, plus some inherent questions that come along with it:
First, much like the rumors from several years back regarding Kordell Stewart’s sexuality, the story eventually becomes the story. The mere fact that there’s an unresolved pissing match between Favre and Jay Glazer while a Lions head coach repeats "no comment" like Drew Rosenhaus barking "next question" is newsworthy, regardless of whether Glazer’s report is accurate.
Second, we know for a fact that folks in the building are privately saying that believe that Glazer’s report is true.
Third, Glazer has a long history of being on the money. Shouldn’t that be a factor in the question of whether the story at least merits a mention?
Fourth, what’s the problem with reporting that the story isn’t accurate? Doesn’t it make ESPN look good in comparison to a competitor?
On Sportscenter this morning, ESPN finally brought up the story, recapping the whole thing. Glazer first broke the story, Favre and his lapdog denied it, and Detroit Lions' representatives stick to their "no comment". Jay Glazer says that he stands behind the story "1,000 percent". ESPN's Mike Golic in his commentary said that this sort of thing isn't uncommon and, as long as the player didn't contact the team, he was totally OK with it. Golic also is a spokesman for NutriSystem. So take that however you wish.
On Wednesday, Favre addressed the issue in his weekly press conference (which I haven't found a transcript of yet). According to the press conference, Favre confirmed contact between himself and then-Detroit GM Matt Millen. According to Favre, Millen called him to talk about hunting, and the conversation just happened to steer towards football. Millen asked Favre about Green Bay's gameplan for Detroit last year, and he "didn't give him any gameplanning. I haven't been in that offense in over a year. I don't know what else to tell you. It's really pretty simple." Quite a far cry from "total B.S."
So what does this all mean? Well, it certainly spices things up a little. It really comes down to who called who. If someone can prove that one party called the other beyond a reasonable doubt, then that will decide the story. If Millen called Favre, it's much less inflammatory. If Favre called Millen, it's...well, we've already been there.
Two side notes: Jets fans let out a collective "meh" to the whole story. I don't blame them; there were no rules broken, the Jets don't play Green Bay unless they get to the Super Bowl (which is increasingly unlikely as the season progresses), and Gang Green has their own issues.
I originally got the link to the Gazette article from my buddy Brady via AIM, who followed his anti-Favre tirade with a ringing endorsement of Aaron Rodgers:
ive been saying this since day one, but rodgers is a beast, and aint no one gunna convice me otherwise. so what if he got hurt in the past? he never had to play, he was the backup of the most durable and one of the greatest QB's of all time. now, he owns the team, and he is doing a damn good job. IMO he is 7-7 in these games, has yet to put us in a poistion to lose.
Agreed, Brady. Wholeheartedly.
UPDATE: ESPN finally decided to act like a news outlet and report the story. They also included Favre's Wednesday press conference, which had this little tidbit:
Favre, wearing a green Jets sweatshirt and a navy New York Titans cap, held his composure throughout the news conference. He clenched his jaw a few times and only once raised his voice in anger, when he was told that former teammate Charles Woodson said if the Lions called Favre, it's OK, but not if it happened the other way around. "Go back and tell Charles I did not call them," an irritated Favre said. "I didn't call 'em."
Maybe you should call some of these guys yourself, Brett. Even a text here or there would be OK. In fairness, he seems very adamant about denying the report. If he wants to try and clear things up so that Packer fans don't hate him quite as much, I'm cool with that.