The NFL’s Double Standard: Brett Favre Vs. Steve McNair

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: May 7, 2006

Brett Favre Vs. Steve McNair

Brett Favre Vs. Steve McNair

NORTH CAROLINA — On one side of the world, the anticipation and dramatics are over. Soon to be Hall of Famer Brett Favre has announced that he will return as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers for the 2006 season to the delight of some and the frustration of many others.

In the meantime another veteran QB, Steve McNair, is not only looking at the starting position on the outside looking in for the Tennessee Titans, he’s not even allowed to practice and work-out at the Titans facility based on the financial and insurance concerns of management.

What are the similarities?

What joins these to gladiators together in this article?

A double standard.

You see in my opinion, while Favre is definitely deserving of not only the accolades but also the respect of players, coaches, fans and the media because of his impressive career numbers, toughness, leadership and athleticism.

However, he is CLEARLY in a situation where his team and the Packer organization is going or wants to go to a youth movement at many positions including at quarterback but is allowing Mr. Favre to decide his fate and the speed of the youth movement.

McNair doesn’t have the same luxury and arguably has been right there in talent, athleticism and toughness with Favre over the last decade.

Look at it.

One man is told in so many words to take your time to decide the franchise’s fate, while the other is told that your “FATE” is in our hands.

Is this fair? I think not.

Sure, Favre has all of the stats: A three-time MVP of the NFL, the longest current games played streak in league history, and second in NFL history in passing yards, completions and touchdowns.

The credentials are certainly there to make him a first ballot Hall of Famer and no one can question that. But what I question is his character. Not if he is a bad guy or good guy, but if he is a selfish person.

The Packers lack talent and ability at most positions on defense and offense and needed to know which direction their draft selections would be based on Favre’s decision.

If he was to retire, they may have taken a Vince Young, Matt Linehart or another quarterback with their 1st pick in the draft.

After Favre announced his return, Green Bay spent their top pick on A.J Hawk, an exceptional linebacker out of Ohio State. Favre’s actions brought on a reaction by the team. But the fact he made the team wait and kept the their fans in limbo is inexcusable and very selfish.

As a player of Favre’s magnitude, you either have the desire to come back for another grind in the NFL or your heart is not in it anymore.

You then step down and leave with dignity, respect amongst the players, coaches, owners and fans that hailed you as one of the game’s elite.

But he didn’t.

Instead, Favre turned his nose up in the air to the organization and it’s fans and went fishing. That will not change his legendary status and legacy on the field but it hurt the view of his character off the field.

Sadly enough, the Packers and some of his loyal fans, welcomed him back with open arms and all is better in Packer land.

And for McNair, he’s reached a Super Bowl, been a multiple Pro Bowler and has been among the leaders in passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and wins. He’s also led his team to the playoffs on numerous occasions and one yard short of bringing home the Lombardi Trophy.

Now owner Bud Adams and the Titans management want McNair gone. They want him gone from the team so bad, they will not allow this “TRUE TITAN” to practice at the team facility with his other teammates.

What is it that McNair has done to be treated with so much disrespect?

Does he have the plague? Is he all of a sudden a bad influence on others on the team? Is his play and personality going to affect newly drafted QB Vince Young in some way at all?

I am baffled by the team’s open, seemingly heartless, and disrespectful conduct towards the man that has been the face of the franchise both in Houston and Tennessee.

One future Hall of Famer shows his arrogance and conceit directly in the face of his team and fans by deciding to not decide on his future with the team and when he decides, “Yeah, I guess I will come back next year”, he is welcome with open arms.

Meanwhile, the other (McNair) wanted to be there with no question of wanting to help the team and fans win and is basically shown the proverbial “door”.

What if the tables were turned? If McNair decided he didn’t want to be a Titan anymore whether it was for money reasons, the fact that they have struggled or he just didn’t want to be apart of a rebuilding process, the media, the Titans and some fans would have called him selfish, greedy and not a team player or loyal player.

I find this to be a blatant double standard in the No Fun League where double standards still seem to come not in the position of the player but the race of the player.

Favre is 38, but is still considered great and still considered “a gun slinger”. McNair is 33 and he is considered old.

USC’s Matt Linehart is considered a polished quarterback who can step into the NFL and take over a team and win. Texas’ Vince Young is considered a project with potential.

Linehart is considered a great QB, while Young is considered a great athlete.

Now in NO WAY am I comparing Favre’s career to McNair’s NOR am I saying that they’re on the similar level in regards to stats, awards and Super Bowl appearances, but in many ways they are on the same level.

What I am saying that both give their all every year, but in the eyes of the eyes of owners, media and some fans, they aren’t equal.

The notion that Favre has earned the right to leave on his own terms is ridiculous. No player is owed anything but a pension from the league and some barely receive that.

It would be nice for players to leave the game on their own terms like Jerome Bettis, Barry Sanders and Jim Brown to name a few greats. However, no player should ever be treated the way McNair is being treated in Titan land.

He wanted to retire as a Titan but I guess that is not going to happen especially with reports of the Titans either releasing McNair or trading him to play with Ray Lewis, Brian Billick, and Jamaal Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens.

That move that could make the Ravens a major player in AFC Northern Division, a division that already with includes the Super Bowl Champion Steelers and the upstart Bengals.

The NFL has grown and progressed over the last few decades in terms of opportunity, equality, fairness, awareness and diversity on the field and in management. But some owners, some media and some fans still have that “cotton picking” mentality.

That “what have you done for me lately” philosophy and until that single-MINDED thought process is gone, their will always be a DOUBLE STANDARD.