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The Great Brett Favre Standoff: ESPN vs. Fox Sports Deux

If Brad Childress looks perturbed, that's because he is.

It’s like two great fighters going up against each other, only they’re slinging words at each other rather than punches. And one of them is a bloated, arrogant behemouth that might be past his prime.

I am, of course, speaking of the he said, she said commentary going back and forth between ESPN and Fox Sports in relation to the latest news on former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre.

In this latest installment, ESPN and Fox Sports are quibbling over whether or not the Minnesota Vikings gave Brett Favre a deadline to make a decision on his football future.

ESPN, whose reporters continually used unnamed sources, first reported that the Vikings imposed a deadline on King Favre.

Let me note that I used to be a reporter, and by no means am against using unnamed sources. Sometimes, that’s what you have to do to get a story. However, as a reporter, you always have to be aware that if someone refuses to let you use their name, there’s a very real possibility they have an agenda. The only other reason people leak information to the press is because they owe a particular reporter a favor, or they are your best friend.

Anyway, Vikings coach Brad Childress came out the next day and said there was absolutely no deadline. This was news only in the fact that someone (ESPN) had apparently erroneously reported the opposite. ESPN followed up with a story on Childress’ comments, as did Fox Sports. However, Fox Sports used the opportunity to take a swipe at ESPN.

The Fox Sports story was titled “Childress Blasts ESPN’s Report of Favre Deadline.” It’s a clear swipe at ESPN and their reporting practices. It was also totally unnecessary.

The headline easily could have been something like “Childress Refutes Report of Favre Deadline.” In his comments, Childress doesn’t seem to mention ESPN’s name, although he does seem to blast the information presented.

Asked if there was a deadline, Childress said “absolutely not” — unless it came from Favre’s wife, Deanna, or “somebody like that.”

Childress added: “Certainly not from me. Not even close. Don’t know where that would’ve dropped out of the sky from.”

So there you have it. But back to this brewing feud.

My first reaction to the headline was a chuckle. Personally, I hate ESPN and their “reporting” practices. They create news, as they did with this story right here, which then leads to the necessity to write more news, all of which feeds into the endless expert analysis and speculation you see on their various news shows. They’re also selective in what they choose to cover and how they choose to cover it, seemingly based on their business interests – remember Favregate, which started this whole feud?

After I got done smirking at Fox Sports for sticking it to ESPN, however, I realized something. Much like a Minnesota Vikings fan, the move was classless.

Fox Sports should be above such nonsense. They’re a fine sports news organization with great reporters and writers, like Jay Glazer. And frankly, those of us who follow sports on a regular basis aren’t stupid. We see what ESPN does. We know when they’re wrong. We see the arrogance. These things don’t need to be pointed out in such a brazen manner.

Which finally brings me to the conclusion of the latest ESPN vs. Fox Sports Brett Favre reporting saga.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that ESPN is “standing by” it’s initial report.

“In the course of reporting the news of the deadline, we also noted the possibility that Favre could still join the Vikings once the deadline had passed. Clearly, that’s important context. We stand by our reporting,” said ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer in an email to the Star Tribune.

I see, so you’re saying there really was no deadline then? Uh-huh. Gotcha.

If there is anything that can be learned from this situation, it is that:

1. Never admit you are wrong, even when you clearly are. Just put some spin out there, because people are too stupid to see through such things.

2. Even though it may be tempting, do not take a classless swipe at your chief rival. It makes you look like a Minnesota Vikings fan and you don’t want that.

3. Brett Favre is a cunt, and we’re in for a lot more of this bullshit.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.