Sunday, August 03, 2008

And so it begins

First football post of the season. So exciting! (When our Sports Illustrated came in this week and for the first time in a long time it wasn't baseball, Olympics, or basketball, I cheered louldy. Football is back, baby!)

There are two stories I want to touch on, both of which could be semi-interesting to the uninitiated.

A 2005 Army policy allowed for "individuals with exceptional skills to pursue their professional careers while remaining on active duty." In The New York Times in April, the reasoning was explained this way:

The Army’s hope is that talented people, like elite athletes or musicians, can help promote the service and boost recruiting.

So when a West Point cadet, Caleb Campbell, was selected by the Detroit Lions in the draft, he was going to be allowed to forgo whatever active deployment was to be assigned to him (one presumes a trip to Afghanistan or Iraq) so that he could use his clout as a football safety to recruit young men and women for the military. This raised quite the commotion. Within the pages of the venerable Sports Illustrated, there were letters to the editor ranging from support of Campbell, suggesting that the fellow was just following orders and doing what the Army was telling him to do, to vocal opposition of Campbell and Detroit, suggesting that the much maligned Lions will forever be known as the team that kept a man from doing his patriotic duty.

Earlier this week, the Department of Defense overruled the Army's 2005 policy and ordered Campbell to report back to active duty. As an assistant football coach for the Army.

Because that's what America needs. Another disillusioned, disgruntled football coach.

My second story has to do with the return to the NFL of Brett Favre. In March, Favre "retired" from the NFL, where he had played for the Green Bay Packers for approximately a million years. He retired as a hero, winning Sportsman of the Year in 2007, taking his team much farther into the playoffs than anyone could have ever predicted, and with tears streaming down his grizzled face (get yourself some sunscreen, Brett!) during the press conference.

Then two weeks ago, Favre decided that he wanted back in. There were contentious disputes among the Packers, who have a new quarterback, but don't want Favre going somewhere else, Favre himself who wanted to be released from the Packers to be allowed to go to another team to play, and the commissioner of the NFL who wanted the mess to JUST BE OVER, damn it, there's no need for this brouhaha right before the season starts.

The NFL reinstated Favre today, which gives Green Bay twenty-four hours to activate Favre, trade him or release him. So Favre is going to play in the NFL this season.

He could have been known as a hero. Now he's going to be known as a crybaby who didn't know when to bow out gracefully. I respected Favre, but now whenever he comes onto my radar screen, all I will be able to remember are these last few weeks when he couldn't act like a mature adult who had made a decision that should have been impossible to undo.

But, on the bright side, if he stays with Green Bay, I have even more reason to root as loudly as I can against them!

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