Brett Favre, Mark Murphy, and the Perils of Willful Ignorance

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Brett Favre

Brett Favre

Throughout the entire reconciliation saga, Brett Favre, Mark Murphy and all the elements favoring a Brett Favre reconciliation with the Green Bay Packers have indulged in willful ignorance that is truly breathtaking, acting as if that vendetta he waged by playing for our most hated rival never happened all. But none has been as shameless or as ill-advised as Monday’s press conference, where the Packers announced that Favre will enter the team’s Hall of Fame and have his number retired in 2015.

One online authority defines willful ignorance as “the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality,” as it is “almost certainly driven by confirmation bias.” In legal parlance, particularly in the realm of criminal law, it typically involves a criminal actor purposefully remaining ignorant of facts that, if known, would render him criminally liable for his actions, such as taking a package on an international flight for $10,000 and willfully refusing to inspect its contents. Hear no evil, see no evil.

Throughout the entire charade, a disinterested spectator, such as a person waking up from a six year coma, would have no reason to know that 2008 ever happened. Nor would he ever know that the ex-Packer orchestrated his way into playing for the Minnesota Vikings as part of some sort of sick personal vendetta against Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and, most significantly of all, our Green Bay Packers by extension. There was nary a word or image of the man joining our most hated rival on Monday. This was followed by a myriad of softball questions from the press in attendance. The closest Favre came to even acknowledging what he did was saying that you cannot please everyone no matter what you do. Of course, had he simply retired a Packer, or even remained a New York Jet, he likely would be adored by virtually all Packers fans, proving that he could have pleased everyone if he gave a damn. Oh and then he indulged in that talk about how all true Packer fans will feel as he does.

Despite a long history of vitriolic, over-the-top ranting denouncing both the man and even the suggestion of reconciliation, at least before the man drops dead, I actually understand the rationale for reconciliation, provided such initiatives are not proffered by those who turned on their Green and Gold colors for those of the enemy. You know, those supposed Packers fans who were wearing Vikings jerseys not too long ago. I understand it, I just do not agree with it. Various comment sections, message boards, and social media all indicate such feelings are at least a sizable minority too large to simply ignore.

And yet this is what Murphy, Favre, and those pushing for this are doing. Such breathtaking displays of willful ignorance, acting as if the events between 2008 and 2010 never even happened, serve no one. It does nothing to achieve any sort of compromise, understanding or goodwill between different parties who see things differently. As it demonstrates remarkable arrogance, it plays those who refuse to be so deluded for fools. Much like a minor Simpsons character, Susan, who could not believe Marge Simpson took note of repeated efforts to humiliate her, the elements pushing for this are either clueless and out of touch, or simply do not care about how at least some feel about these shenanigans.

susan simpsons

Truth is an indispensable prerequisite of reconciliation in any circumstance. Without an acknowledgement of truth, no matter what the circumstance, there can never be reconciliation. While things have not gone all that well in post-Apartheid South Africa despite extraordinary efforts in healing deep divisions within the country, it is nonetheless telling that the hallmark initiative to achieve goodwill, peace and understanding between aggrieved parties was called The TRUTH and Reconciliation Committee (emphasis added).

Which begs the question; how on god’s green earth can there be any meaningful reconciliation when these elements, including Favre, Murphy and on down the line will not so much as acknowledge the truth or the past, and will not even so much as mention it. No reference to calling the Lions to share details of the Packers playbook. No utterance or image of the man in Vikings uniform. No reference to his personal vendetta to “stick it to Green Bay” as he set forth a superhuman effort to make the Vikings Super Bowl champions and sabotage the eventual Super Bowl champion McCarthy-Rodgers era. No reference to the ex-Packer turned Viking telling Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher that he hopes they beat the Packers and thus knock us out of contention in the year we won Super Bowl XLV. Certainly no mention of the fact that is a veritable certainty that the man desperately wanted the Packers to lose Super Bowl XLV. Indeed, in a pregame radio special prior to the press conference, Alex Petakas of ESPN 540 even surmised that, should the Packers win the Super Bowl this year, that that would trigger the man’s resentment, and could even possibly derail this charade altogether.

Really? Favre, Murphy and their band of mousketeers expect us to cheer and welcome with open arms an ex-Packer, turned Viking, turned traitor who not so secretly holds a grudge to this day and still, in all likelihood, wants the Packers to fail in their bid to win another Lombardi Trophy? At the very least, it all comes to show that the man is no Bart Starr.

Admittedly, Favre was an integral, indispensable part of the Packers renaissance, as were to a perhaps greater extent Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren, an obvious admission the Favreists uniformly omit in their gushing praise of the man. There are admittedly very good reasons as to why some sort of reconciliation should be achieved in time, even if that falls short of retiring his number, an honor reserved for very few who met a higher standard by not doing everything they could to ruin the Packers. However, such an understanding cannot possibly be achieved realistically provided that those favoring this continue to engage in such blatant white-washing of history so ridiculous it should not fool a 5-year-old. Despite the number of rabid Favreists who gush at every turn about the man, and uniformly entertain false analogies and even outright lies, some of us actually refuse to stick our heads in the sand in order to hide from what is in plain view for all the world to see.

About The Author

Just a Packers fan and native Seattleite left stranded in New York City, and apparently suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from the near disaster in New Orleans in January of 2010. Bleeds Green and Gold through and through. Listens to indie and hardcore industrial and aggrotech music, and thus would much rather hear Headhunter by Front 242 or Front Line Assembly’s “Mindphaser” than “Celebrate” or “I Gotta Feeling” in the fourth quarter, or any time.

37 Comments on "Brett Favre, Mark Murphy, and the Perils of Willful Ignorance"

  1. Skinny

    I told you this was all bullshit. But what can you do. Harlan, Wolf and Starr aren’t getting any younger, they have to have make this shit happen within the next couple years so god forbid none of them fucking pass on and the organization isn’t saying, shit we should have did it sooner.

    • Savage57

      Sorry, Skinny, but my reply has nothing to do with your post.

      I want it at the top so the author of yet another in the unrelenting and tiresome parade of these rambling, pedantic, over-wrought manifestos can get it through his head that this shit just happens. Has in the past to the Packers, other teams and will continue in the future. Only thing is, most people just accept it as part of the game and don’t get their vag all packed full of sand over it.

      Even the St. Peter of the franchise, Vince, waffled, came out of retirement and came back to football to coach the Redskins. They went 7-5 his first year, and if cancer hadn’t taken him and he’d gone on to beat the Packers or lead the Redskins to a championship, would some generational, nut-job equivalent of Wolfie have been calling for his banishment from Packer history forever for being a ‘traitor’? Probably, because time has never been able to fully dull and vanquish the lingering effects of blind hate, ignorance and stupidity.

      Wolfie, by now we all get it. You’ve been crying to the wind for a couple of years, but alas all to no avail. Favre will get his day, his glory, his unconditional forgiveness and adulation from all but the most spiteful of the ‘savers’. Get over it and get over yourself – no one really cares anymore, except Monty, and all you are to him is his click-bitch.

      • E. Wolf

        Lombardi going to the Redskins is a FALSE ANALOGY. Redskins are NOT a rival, and he did not do it to stick it to Green Bay.
        ANd no this has not happened to other teams, not in football (baseball players get traded all the time). Unitas, Montana, Peyton Manning all other false analogies you people come up with are false analogies. They do not involve bitter rivals and they were never part of a personal vendetta.

        • RelampagoBlanco

          And your analogy to a fucking FICTIONAL CHARACTER is relavent? I also never saw Favre point a gun at my head and he most certainly didn’t pull the trigger having me narrowly escape death.. What other asinine comparisons have you come up with?

          • E. Wolf

            First, just because something is fictional does not render it somehow of no value. Why do you think people study literature?
            Furthermore, these are apt comparisons because:

            1) the Packers are a very important part of my life. Their success or failure matters to me a great deal to me.
            2) These examples demonstrate the tradition of Western thought concerning culpability and mens rea (intent). Throughout the tradition of Western criminal law, intent coupled with a substantial attempt to complete an act makes one culpable, even if one ultimately fails.
            This of course also applies in matters that are not criminal but still involve wrongdoing. Think for example a husband or wife who plots to have an affair, but gets caught or otherwise fails for whatever reason to do the deed.
            Of course, a more apt analogy is an estranged partner actually fucking your most worst enemy and plotting to ruin you, and only just failing.
            Pick whatever analogy you want. The point is this: throughout pretty much the entire tradition of Western thought in law and out of the law–just because one only just fails in some wrongdoing does not render that person somehow not culpable because of his failure despite best attempts.
            I marvel that this basic concept so pervasive in the history of Western thought (and probably other civilizations as well) is some how so difficult to comprehend.

  2. kato

    These anti favre posts are really getting old. Along with your thesaurus of words not used in everyday talk trying to somehow make yourself sound like you are more intelligent than anyone else on this site.

  3. As far as I am concerned, having CHOSEN to play for the Queens should disqualify him for life. It wasn’t that he got traded – he WANTED to go there, and he found the way to make it happen. Let him be nominated for the Kiln Mississippi hall of fame, but not in Green Bay where he betrayed us of his own free will.

  4. guysocke

    The worst part about the final years of Brett Favre’s career – including those before he even left Green Bay – was the constant, over-analytical coverage no one asked for, particularly from ESPN. E. Wolf’s same can, different label anti-Favre rhetoric is essentially the same thing.

    I do not read Wolf’s articles. Monty strategically no longer introduces them as such, but identifying them only requiers a quick scan for length and diction. I then move on before wasting any more of my time on his thesauric fluff.

    Some of you protest Monty giving Wolf a platform, but the fact is he has no incentive to stop doing so. By simply hitting post, Monty gains more clicks and reaps the financial rewards from the blood, sweat, tears and not-so-occasional sharts that go into Wolf’s writings, even if no one actually reads them or skips right to the comments section. After all, site traffic is site traffic, even if it is generated by the blog equivalent of a WWF villain, and it does not take someone with the business acumen of Vince McMahon to recognize the benefit.

    You see, Wolf is Favre. Favre is Wolf. Both are egotistical and starved for attention and acceptance. Some people like them, most people do not, but everyone can agree that we would all be better off if they just went away and let us discuss the things that actually matter.

    Keep cashing those checks, Monty.

  5. DJ

    We all know the history and who did what & why. Having said that…

    I’m in favor of reconciliation. I’m for a reunion. I want Favre in the Packer Hall of Fame/Ring of Honor. I want Favre to retire a Packer. I want, desperately, for HIM to give me a reason to forgive him…to stand & cheer for him again. I want 100% of Packer Nation cheering for him…from the casual to the hardcore fan.

    And not just sit there not knowing what to do, feeling ambivalent, or being forced to pick a side.

    Pick a side? How did this get reduced to THAT?

    I also know that I am not alone. There are legions of Packer fans who feel exactly as I do.

    Thus, its pretty fucking stupid & counter productive to keep shooting the messenger (Wolf) while ignoring the message. I know its folly to expect Wolf to forgive or accept Favre back ever again. That ship has sailed. But that doesnt diminish his arguments about the truth, the white washing, or Favre’s inability (or unwillingness) to accept his portion of responsibility for THOUSANDS of people feeling the way they do.

    I understand why Favre did what he did. I understand why he felt the way he did. I understand his grudge against the Packers. I dont condemn him for being human and imperfect. What I do condemn, however, is his unwillingness to accept responsibility for the thousands of fans who became collateral damage as a result of his quest for revenge. He KNOWS we exist. Just fucking own up to it!! Just say “Hey man, I didnt mean for you to get hit too and I regret that.”

    Instead, we get, in essence “You’re not a real Packer fan unless you love & accept me no questions asked.”
    I’m sorry, but that just isnt good enough for me. I’ll happily cheer for the man….again….when he gives me a reason to. Until then, I guess I shall remain an illegitimate Green Bay Packer fan. So be it.

    • E. Wolf

      Thanks DJ. It really means a lot to me. I want to stress I understand the reasons for reconciliation in principle, although I do not agree with them. I certainly do not agree with these sorts pretenses–the white-washing, the acting as if it never happened, and that whole “true Packer fan” bullshit.
      Anyway, thanks again.

  6. elafave

    Great article. You beautifully covered all of the salient points of this ongoing conflict. People who ignore these facts are dilusuonal, but they have every right to their opinions as we do ours. I just know that when I look up to the Ring of Honor and see that number 4 I’ll have a hard time knowing that Favre prolly’ wanted us to fall on our faces during the 45 run. Fuck him. Not forgivable, EVER.

  7. the real jeff ircink

    why no author tag? was this another E Wolf diatribe? you know what’s rich? the #4 and Favre’s name emblazoned on the Ring of Honor for every anti-Favre Packer fan to see for the rest of their lives. THAT’S karma.

    many are laughing at this site. thought you should know.

    any Packer fan – regardless of how you feel about Brett and what went down – who even questions the fact that Favre’s number should be retired and that he should be in the Packer HOF is delusional and should question THEIR OWN loyalty to this team.

    • E. Wolf

      It is the same as any other article, and yes it is mine. You of course could not be more wrong about questioning the loyalty of those not down with these. We weren’t the ones turning on our colors. We take the mortal danger we were in, and which we were incredibly fortunate to escape from, incredibly seriously. One errant 12th man penalty alone was the difference.
      Jason Wilde wrote an article comparing what almost became reality to Hill Valley ruled by Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future series. That is what this man wanted, and that he only just failed changes nothing about his culpability. It IS just like attempted murder, treason, Gordon Gekko’s hostile big takeover of Blue Star airlines, so on and so forth.

    • Tucson Packer

      yes Jeff,
      If we dont totally forgive #4 and BEG him to retire a Packer then WE are “delusional” and should question our loyalty to an entire franchise?

  8. the real jeff ircink

    figure it was you, Wolf. blah, blah-blah, blahblahblah. and i stand by my questioning of your loyalty – and others. as i stated above, those that fit into the category are delusional and should rush right out and get a lobotomy.

    • E. Wolf

      Question my loyalty huh. It was not people like me donning enemy colors and hoping the Vikings win the Super Bowl. Just like you people to continue to distort the truth and propagate lies, falsehoods and false analogies.
      There is this really groovy act out of the United Kingdom called the Sex Pistols, You may have heard of them. They have a song called Liar. Might want to have a listen. It is most fitting, for the likes of you and your ilk.

  9. bob at 81

    all right young men – grow up – enough of this crap, pick another subject about our beloved packers and write like you know what you are writing about. yesterday is past, enough of this, start with the present and move forward. I used to enjoy your writings but this is bull crap, seems to come out of the wrong end of the horse.

  10. the real jeff ircink

    wolf – you overuse the word “ilk”. and again – i do question your loyalty.
    Tuscson Packer – yes…i question your loyalty as well. though “beg” is your word – not mine.

    • E. Wolf

      Round and around and around it goes. Again, people like me weren’t wearing Vikings shit or wanting a Viking to win.
      It is also so very quaint that you do that behind the safety of a computer screen you piece of shit.

    • Tucson Packer


      Worry not about my steadfast lifelong loyalty to the Green Bay Packers. I admire and follow them with an intense passion for they will always certainly be more important than ANY individual that may have once played for them, past present or future.

      I don’t follow players around the league with admiration not to mention if they were to sign with a hated rival.

      You though…

  11. Mike73

    The Packers traded Favre. So what if Favre wanted to stick it to them, any normal person would. E Wolf wants to stick it to Favre…what is the difference? Packers fans should give him a standing ovation like he deserves.

    • E. Wolf

      Oh yeah, no big deal about everything that happened in 2008 and 2009. No big deal that the Vikings were a technical penalty and interception away from going to and most assuredly winning the Super Bowl.
      You people are unfucking real.

  12. Mike73

    E Wolf, that’s right, no big deal. The Packers chose their guy in Rodgers and it was a good decision. They traded Favre and he wanted to stick it to them….omg that’s never happened before in pro sports. Pick their worst enemy and show up in Lambeau and stick it to them…and he did, too. Packers got the last laugh though. But who cares. The minute Ted traded him all Packers fans lost the right to be upset at what Favre did. If anything Favre deserves the apology from fans for giving him the boot after 16 years.

    Anyways all this has happened before with the likes of Montana. He didn’t do much to mentor Steve Young now did he?

    You act like Favre owed you something. Get over it and applaud him for 16 great years. He was a great QB.

  13. E. Wolf

    First, and get this through your thicking fucking skull–the fate of our Packers are in fact a big deal. And as that fate is diametrically opposed, the success or failure of the Vikings are almost as important.
    But above what all angers me most are the lies, distortions, half truths, and false analogies.

    Mike73: They traded Favre and he wanted to stick it to them….omg that’s never happened before in pro sports. Pick their worst enemy and show up in Lambeau and stick it to them…and he did, too. Packers got the last laugh though.

    Actually, it has not happened in history before, certainly not the NFL. I and others have had to refute this over and over, and the worst part it, is like arguing whether circles are squares. The Montana examples DOES NOT APPLY. The chiefs not only are not a rival, they are in a different fucking conference. Same rationale applies to the Lombardi “example.” Redskins are not a rival. Nor did he go there to stick it to Green Bay. All the other such comments and analogies I have heard you despicable vermin turncoat scum utter are equally inapplicable.
    Given the unworldy benefits he has derived from the support of Packer fans, I would suggest there was an obligation to stay with the Jets (who in the end went to two AFC title games with Sanchez, suggesting he had a better shot with them). If he does not, then we sure as shit have no obligation to honor him or buy merch with his name or face all over it.

  14. Mike73

    E Wolf, what you can’t get through your thick skull is that all of your research and analysis and your misguided sense of loyalty is invalidated by the fact that the Packers traded Favre. Once you discard someone you lose your moral high ground.

    The media loves to tare down heroes then build them back up. It must have elated you when Favre got knocked out by Wooten and then in the same year was voted “Most Hated” by NFLfans. But too bad for you public opinion swings back to the ‘building up again’ stage. People like you drive this, because now public sentiment is back towards Favre because they think fans who boo him are ridiculous.

    So keep publishing the vitriolic hatred, it only brimgs more and more people back onto the Favre side. If there are boos in Lambeau when Favre returns, the public will jump to his defense in a heartbeat and crucify Packers fans. You are on the wrong side of this one, E Wolf. And you know it.

    • E. Wolf

      Reasoning with you people is like trying to pull hen’s teeth. They traded him to the Jets, which he finagled his way out of to wage a personal vendetta against the Pack by playing for the Vikings.

  15. Mike73

    E Wolf, so what! It does not matter how he got to the Vikings nor that he had a vendetta. The Packers traded him. End of story. Favre has nothing but praise for the fans of Green Bay and his time here. We should do the same to him.

    • E. Wolf

      It does matter, he crossed the line. And you and everyone like you cross the line by acknowleding it.
      Anyone who turns against the G or tries to harm the Packers is the enemy, particular if in consortium with that team.
      I don’t think you people understand how much I and others hate that Vikings team.

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