Brett Favre. The Statue.
Don't laugh. It's a semi-serious discussion.
My general distaste for talk radio and specifically sports talk radio knows almost no bounds. But I heard an interesting discussion on WSSP last week, centered on a possible Brett Favre statue.
The discussion featured two former Packers, Leroy Butler, one of my favorite all-timers, and Gary Ellerson, a running back who had a cup of coffee in the 1980s. Ellerson has matured into a pretty good radio guy with his wonderful sense of humor and professional athletic background making up for the fact he occasionally loses his wrestling match with the English language.
Unfortunately, they were paired for this discussion with someone named Sparky, who tries to talk like a black guy when he's on the air with Ellerson and Butler. We would all be blessed if someone put a bomb in Sparky's Thomas The Tank Engine lunch box.
Anyhow, Butler and Ellerson were discussing whether the Packers should put a statute of Favre in front of Lambeau Field, to join Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi, who are already there.
Ellerson was as violently opposed as only a talk radio guy can be. He said if they wanted to put a statue up of somebody it should be Bob Harlan or Bart Starr or anybody but Favre. He would probably support a statue of Tony Mandarich before one of Favre.
Butler, who has a sense of humor that is a little like Dave Letterman's, disagreed. He was eloquent in his support of Favre. He pointed out the desert that was Green Bay Packers football for three decades until the change took place that restored the team to its rightful place.
"Brett represents that change better than anyone," he said
The argument seemed to end in a draw when it branched out into a discussion of who else might deserve a statue in front of the stadium. The suggestions came fast and furious and we can look at some of them.
But before that, let me say that I'm in favor of the Favre statue, if we have another statue. Personally I've always believed the fewer statues the less likely it is that we'll get an invasion of pigeons.
Ellerson said Bart Starr deserved a statue. He said Starr had done so much for the community as a member of the Packers family. All of that is true. He was a great quarterback and he never met a charity he didn't like. But he was an awful coach and even worse as a general manager. That doesn't add up to statue as far as I'm concerned unless you build one with him wearing a leisure suit and with his wife, Cherry, on his arm.
Don Hutson and Tony Canadeo were candidates. While both were great players they are too far in the past to rate statues.
If we have another statue, I've got some other candidates who I think might well deserve it.
Bob Harlan, who retired as Packers president several years ago, could well be one. He spent 50 years with the team. He took over after Judge Robert Parins, a spiteful man who knew nothing about football, just about drove the team into the ground.
Harlan hired Ron Wolf and, as they say, the rest is history. Of course, Harlan also hired Mike Sherman as coach and general manager, so he's got at least one strike against him.
Reggie White might get a vote or two. It would create a black guy statue in Green Bay, something nobody would have ever bet on. White was great. But he was only here a couple of years and the fact that he died unexpectedly should not make him a statue candidate.
I think the ideal choice would be someone who toiled in relative anonymity. Someone who came to work every day, played hard and with honor, who embodied the wonder that is the Green Bay Packers. The kind of guy Lombardi would have loved.
A tight end like Paul Coffman, who was slow and fairly small but who never dropped a pass and was always where he was supposed to be.
Middle linebacker Jim Carter had the awful task of replacing Ray Nitschke and did it with skill, a tough skin to handle the criticism from fans, and a bawdy sense of humor that kept a locker room loose.
Or how about Ezra Johnson, a good end who ate a hot dog on the sideline during a game and was forever branded with that one act, overwhelming all the good football he played.
Or my friend, tackle Greg Koch, who was always a man's man, who was a very good player and an even better teammate. He was a man fueled by honesty and hard work with an ethic that was virtually unmatched. He was the kind of man you want your son to grow up to be.
But the idea of a football player and a statue just don't seem to go together.
I think we would be better off if we leave statues to Buddha, mermaids, saints, Jesus, soldiers, presidents, kings and queens, virgins, anyone with Caesar in their name, sphinxes, deep thinkers except for Deepak Chopra and naked men and naked ladies with or without arms.
We don't need any statues of football players.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.