Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton went on a radio show in Atlanta on Tuesday and offered his thoughts on Brett Favre. Ordinarily, players and former players alike think of themselves as part of a fraternity, manifesting itself as a mutual respect and understanding. As Favre will almost assuredly be inducted into the Hall of Fame down the road, it would stand to reason that Tarkenton would have even more reason to speak respectfully. Instead, we got this:
"I think it’s despicable. What he put the Packers through last year was not good. Here’s an organization that was loyal to him for 17, 18 years, provided stability of organization, provided players. It just wasn’t about Brett Favre. In this day and time, we have glorified the Brett Favre’s of the world so much, they think it’s about them. He goes to New York and bombs. He’s 39 years old. How would you like Ray Nitschke in his last year (playing for) the Vikings, or I retire, and go play for the Packers. I kind of hope it happens, so he can fail."
Tarkenton aimed some of his anger at what he feels to be Favre sullying the image of the Vikings by taking on a washed-up egomaniac. If Tarkenton believes that Favre is both finished and arrogant (he may be, but it's not really relevant here), that's fine; there are no shortage of others sitting in the same boat as Fran. However, the responsibility falls on Tarkenton to swallow his tongue in public. If someone like Skip Bayless wants to go marauding around an ESPN morning show in his tinfoil hat spouting the exact same sentiment, fine.That's what people like Skip Bayless do for a living.
Every now and then, a former player makes a statement of this color. It never reflects well and usually serves to ruffle the feathers of other members of the fraternity. No matter how strongly you may feel that Favre is going about his business with a less-than-desirable level of class or respect for the game, there is no reason to make a statement of this sort. This only reflects poorly on Fran Tarkenton. One person walked away from this exchange looking like an arrogant old man, and it isn't Brett Favre.