Remember blog-hater Buzz Bissinger, the “Friday Night Lights” scribe who lit into Will Leitch on “Costas Now”?
Well, his most recent target is none other than Brett Favre, whom he calls a “hubristic fool” for playing through an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game.
Brett Favre wasn’t heroic. He was a hubristic fool. He wasn’t a warrior. He was an arrogant braggart who, whatever the homespun hokum of his Mississippi roots, perversely reveled in his pain to the point where his agent publicly disseminated pictures of his injuries like cheesecake photos–a deep-purple ankle lumpish and swollen, an equally deep-purple hamstring. The pictures did what Favre hoped they would: further reinforce his image as The Gladiator, The Samurai, The White Knight for whom guts in football, however stupid and wanton, is what counts.
Later, Bissinger says that Favre’s admission to his pain killer addiction and his playing the Monday night (against the Raiders) after his father died were contrived and carefully planned.
He has always been clinically grandiose beneath the “aw-shucks” country boy cover. He knows what sportswriters crave, not just the junk food of the noble warrior but the soul-aching confessional, which largely accounts for why he admitted to being a Vicodin addict in 1996. He knew that, when he decided to play a football game the night after his father died in 2003, it would not be perceived for the act of self-absorption it was, but as an act of courage after he carefully spun it as that’s what pappy would have wanted.
While we all know that Favre has a huge ego and a flair for the dramatic, I don’t think his deciding to play soon after his father died was an “act of self-absorption.” I think any athlete that had a supportive father would choose to mourn on the football field, the basketball court or the baseball diamond rather than wallow in pity and depression in some dark room somewhere. An athlete (and likely his father) would see not playing as a form of self-absorption. No father would want his death to hurt the chances of his son’s team getting a win in a crucial game.
And as for the chances of Favre, or any tough QB for that matter, taking himself out of the NFC Championship Game because of an ankle injury — well, it’s just unrealistic to think that would ever happen. I saw the game, and while Favre limped off after the play in question, he was moving around all right on it for the rest of the game. Do you think Minnesota fans wanted to see Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson in that situation? Hell no.
Bissinger’s official website describes him as “highly acclaimed” and “one of the nation’s most distinguished writers.” But this piece isn’t distinguished at all. It just seems like he has an ax to grind with Favre (ever since the pain killer admission) and he took this opportunity to kick a man while he’s down.
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