With the start of the Major League Baseball season, it was time to write about the Milwaukee Brewers and most specifically Ryan Braun – but I didn’t know how to meld the kickoff of the Brewers season with news of the Green Bay Packers.
That was until yesterday.
When Braun was introduced to the fans of Milwaukee prior to the start of their season-opener against the Atlanta Braves, the fans didn’t just applaud their controversial and maligned star – they gave him a standing ovation and thunderous roar of approval on his return from suspension.
Clearly, the fans of Milwaukee have forgiven Braun for lying and cheating. To some, that’s the Christian thing to do; to others, it’s stupid – why should fans stoop to the level of a player who deceived everyone, lied about his use of performing enhancing drugs, and then was caught?
Because that’s a part of life, folks.
Fans of any sport have to deal with those who don’t always tell the truth. Sometimes they get caught. Sometimes they don’t.
That’s a part of life, folks.
But when one considers Braun’s reception from his fans, we also have to consider what will happen when Brett Favre finally makes his trip back to Lambeau Field for the retirement of his number 4.
How will fans treat their once-adored superstar?
My guess is that it will be similar to that of Braun’s reception. Not because all Wisconsin fan bases are alike, but because it’s the right thing to do. Yes, Brett Favre broke the hearts of everyone in Packers Nation his final two years in the National Football League, but that was then and this is now. If the Packers administrators and coaching staff can put aside their opinions and differences they have had with Favre, so can the fan base.
I expect that the day when Favre is reintroduced to fans at Lambeau Field, it will become one of the finer moments ever to take place at the storied venue. I can see it now … Favre and his family at the 50 yard line waving to the fans who had so long supported his efforts on and off the field.
When Favre was brought to Green Bay for a first round draft pick and he finished off that first win against the Cincinnati Bengals back in 1992, we all knew he was something special.
When he came out and described his addictions and his need to enter rehab, like family members, we stood by him. When he led the Packers to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, he was our football god. When he continued to rack up records over the course of the next decade, we hoped and prayed he would lead us once again to another Super Bowl. Though it never happened, there were moments when the team was close. A break here or there could have made it happen. But it didn’t.
Then came his retirement where we all cried with him as he left Lambeau Field for what we all thought would be the final time. That was before he unretired once, twice and three times. When he was dealt to the New York Jets, we were OK with that. But when he retired once again and then came out of retirement to play for the hated Minnesota Vikings, that’s when things turned south.
There are still many haters out there who will never, under any circumstance, allow themselves to cheer for that man again.
But there are many others – I count myself within this group – who will welcome him back to Lambeau when the time is right.
We will give him a standing ovation and cheer loudly for what he has done for us.
It’s only right.