Green Bay Packers writer’s opinion taken to task by Vikings website editor


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers winds up to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter of the 2012 NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park. Aldon Smith moves in on Rodgers. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a stand and express an opinion – be it about the Obama Administration policies or about the National Football League.

That is what Green Bay Packers website writer Vic Ketchman did recently when he answered a mailbag letter and posted his response on

His opinion caught the eye of The Viking Age’s lead editor Dan Zinskiprompting him to strike out against the entire Green Bay Packers organization, every one of their fans and possibly even against the bus driver who is carting those Packers officials, and the current and former players around on their annual Tailgate Tour.

His article title, “Packers take pathetic cheap shot at 49ers, Aldon Smith,” is nothing but a cheap shot against the Packers … and without reason.

Zinski doesn’t mince words – he was clearly offended by the words included in the headline of the story and certainly miffed by the direction of the opinion.

That’s fine … any time someone writes a piece, they don’t expect that every reader will agree with what is being said. That’s what makes this country great – the ability to say what’s on your mind without having to worry about being thrown in jail for it.

In fact, as a newspaperman, it’s important for me to define the difference between “news” and “opinion.” News is information that is about to or has already happened. Opinion is a writer’s personal reactions to the news.

Ketchman’s piece is clearly marked “opinion.”

Ketchman clearly provided an opinion based on the news about Aldon Smith – the San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman who was arrested last week by police after he is alleged to have indicated he was in possession of a bomb.

Here is the full excerpt of Ketchman’s “opinion”:

"Reader’s question: Vic, it seems the Packers place a high emphasis on character during their selection process, as can be shown by the tremendously low arrest rate. This seems like a simple strategy to sustain success, yet, it seems more of a rarity in the NFL than the standard. What other teams are as committed to personal character?Vic Ketchman’s answer: Nobody wants a locker room full of criminals. All teams place a premium on character. Draft picks are too valuable to waste on guys in jail. It’s all a matter of where you draw the line. Some teams are a little more willing to gamble on a guy with some issues in his past. Santonio Holmes was one of those guys, and those issues eventually caught up to him with the Steelers, but not before he won a Super Bowl MVP. Aldon Smith had some red flags when he was coming into the draft, and it might be catching up to him just as it did with Holmes, but the 49ers have gotten a pretty nice return from their investment in Smith. Where do you draw the line? Every team has to answer that question in its own way. George Young said it’s not a game for the well-adjusted, and I am a George Young devotee. I don’t need a locker room full of choir boys. My line has some loops in it."

Clearly, Ketchman is not overboard, as Zinski intimates. Nowhere do I see in Ketchman’s piece where he says the 49ers have “sunk” to new depths. And nothing here could be construed as sour grapes – as described by Zinski. Yes, the Packers have lost to the 49ers four times over the past two seasons, including twice in the Playoffs. Ketchman doesn’t even come close to broaching that subject. He simply describes how “character” is perceived by ALL teams in the NFL and why it is such an important determinant when teams go in search of players through the Draft and free agency.

And yes, we all know about Johnny Jolly and Mark Chmura … we also know about Mossy Cade and James Lofton. We don’t hide from those incidents. They are what they are … no going back on them. As Packers fans, we understand how the team’s players have behaved in the past and how the organization has reacted.

Maybe Zinski read the piece in its entirety, maybe not. In any case, while he rips every Packers fan and the organization, he is simply out of bounds on this one – that’s my opinion.

I ask that you read Ketchman’s “opinion” and then follow it up by reading Zinski’s reaction.

You be the judge.