Sounding the Alarm
In the post I wrote last May (“Packers Draft Team: Decision-Making by Committee?”) I said:
“(Mark Murphy is smart) and he would certainly act if his general manager was indeed losing it. I suspect CEO Murphy has acted, but has done so quietly… While Thompson might retain the title of general manager, my guess is that picking the team’s draft choices has evolved into a group dynamic.”
Part of my daring speculation was based on my analysis that the draft picks of the last two years were markedly different from Thompson’s previous years as Packers’ GM. In particular, recent picks have been more athletic and much better.
At any rate, Murphy’s statement of January 2 largely confirms my theory:
Mark Murphy: (in his answer as to who signed Davante Adams and Corey Linsley to their contract extensions) “Ah, well, Ted was the general manager, and uh, obviously, uh, uh, Russ Ball was actively involved in that, and, uh, you know, I was involved in those decisions as well.”
I know how attorneys use language to mislead and prevaricate, and Murphy is an attorney. If you re-read the CEO’s answer, you’ll first note the ahs and uhs — they are telltale signs that the question has made Murphy uncomfortable, and that he’s carefully trying to tiptoe around in his answer.
Murphy carefully avoided saying that Thompson was actually involved. His choice of words suggests that Russ Ball had previously assumed a portion of the GM responsibilities. Murphy also reveals his own involvement in such affairs — something he’s never publicly revealed before.
No one would have been more aware of Thompson’s decline than Packers’ front office personnel. There’s no doubt: Thompson’s duties as GM had been diminishing for quite some time prior to Murphy’s announcement.
Ted Thompson Going Forward
What the CEO said on January 2 was that GM Ted Thompson “will transition to a role as senior advisor to football operations.” That fooled very few people. It was a made-up title, a charade and Thompson hasn’t been sighted since.
If Thompson actually continues to do some behind-the-scenes scouting work for the team, that’s fine by me.
Mark Murphy Going Forward
What isn’t fine is Mark Murphy’s continued effort to deceive us. Green Bay’s extremely loyal fans deserve better. I can only hope that his statement that coach Mike McCarthy would “absolutely” continue to report to the new GM — reversed just days later — was the low point in Murphy’s doublespeak tendencies.
In my eyes, Murphy has already irrevocably destroyed his credibility. For those who are more forgiving, Murphy needs to figure out that the public role he played for 12 years — PR man — is no longer appropriate. Now that he’s suggested that he’s going to become directly involved in football operations, he needs to start being honest and serious when he speaks to the public. No more PR, no more spin, no more lies.
Is Murphy really going to dive into the team’s football operations? In his recent “Murphy Takes 5” column, he noted that he had promoted Ed Policy to chief operating officer and general counsel, then added: “He will take on some of the responsibilities that I relinquished as a result of taking on more responsibility in football.”
There you have it — if you can believe it.