SBD/Issue 219/Franchises

Goodell Reinstates Favre After Marketing Deal Falls Apart

Favre Today To Arrive At Packers
Camp After Officially Being Reinstated
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday announced that he will reinstate retired Packers QB Brett Favre at 12:00pm CT today, and "ordered the Packers to make room for him on their 80-man roster," according to Tom Silverstein of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Goodell's decision to reinstate Favre "followed intense negotiations between the Packers and [Favre's] representatives on a marketing and promotions deal that would have paid Favre more than $20[M] over a 10-year period upon his retirement." But negotiations of that deal "broke down, and the Packers were forced to take Favre back." But Silverstein reports it "appears not only will the Packers take Favre back, they will allow him to compete" with Aaron Rodgers for the starting QB role (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/4).

MARKETING DEAL: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty cited an ESPN report which claimed the marketing deal was worth $25M over the 10-year period. A personal-services contract is "relatively common in professional sports for retired star performers" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/2). A source said that the idea of the marketing partnership was "to keep Favre connected with the organization through fan appearances and public events while also setting him up for post-retirement life so he wouldn't be as likely to keep changing his mind about retiring." The plan was first proposed as a 10-year, $10M deal (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/1). ESPN.com's John Clayton wrote Goodell with the reinstatement decision "sided with Favre in the sense that [Goodell] wants Favre in the league as a quarterback instead of a franchise marketer. For now, Favre has won, and Packers management looks embarrassed" (ESPN.com, 8/3). In DC, Mark Maske reports the Packers' "negotiations with Favre on the proposed marketing deal had ended." Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy said of Favre: "We welcome him back and turn this situation to our advantage" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/4).

Writers Laud Goodell For
Handling Of Favre Situation
GOODELL GETS INVOLVED: ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski wrote, "Give Goodell credit for trying to broker a peace deal between Favre and a franchise that refused to budge. And give Goodell extra credit for reinstating Favre to the league." Goodell "understands how this looks. And make no mistake, image matters to the NFL" (ESPN.com, 8/3). SI.com's Peter King noted Goodell has "been an intermediary between the two sides for the past two weeks and it's likely he played Henry Kissinger over the past few days in mediating Favre's return to the team" (SI.com, 8/3). ESPN’s Chris Mortensen: “There’s no question [Goodell] made this thing come together” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN2, 8/4). SI.com's King in a separate piece writes Goodell's role in Favre's reinstatement "was huge. Absolutely huge." After Favre "lost every ounce of trust for the Packers, the only NFL person in a suit he trusted was Goodell. ... The one thing we'll know for sure is Goodell saved Favre's future with the Packers." King: "For those who say Goodell shouldn't have gotten involved because it sets a bad precedent, I say that's ridiculous. Goodell should help ... if it's in the best interests of the game" (SI.com, 8/4). However, ESPN2’s Mike Greenberg said Goodell "really dragged his feet" on the Favre situation (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN2, 8/4). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica added Goodell "probably wishes he could do to that letter of reinstatement what he did with the Spygate tapes, which is just destroy them” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/3).

FOUR-PACK: In Green Bay, Mike Vandermause writes the Packers have "seemingly returned to Square One, which gives the impression the organization is struggling to find the correct course of action, or worse yet, making things up as it goes along and reacting to outside circumstances." The Packers "appear to be making decisions more out of fear than the courage of their convictions" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/4). In S.F., Nancy Gay writes this has resulted in a "disruptive, embarrassing mess, for a proud franchise and city that takes its football very seriously and doesn't usually fumble on public relations." Packers management "made the fatal mistake of letting a 17-year veteran and his agent arm wrestle them into submission." The Packers "couldn't win this one. They erred by letting the impasse linger far too long" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/4). FOXSPORTS.com's Jay Glazer reported the Packers will employ Ari Fleischer Sports Communications President Ari Fleischer "for one month as a consultant" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/3).

QB SACK? In Milwaukee, Don Walker wrote under the header, "Favre Image Takes Hit." There is "some evidence that, for some fans, Favre fatigue has set in." A Green Bay-based group that held a charity auction, which "included a number of Favre-related items," had to "return three of them because no one bid on them." Sports Business Group President David Carter: "There's no doubt that his legacy is being impacted by what's happening in the last week or so." Marketing Evaluations President Steve Levitt said of Favre, "His positives will probably slide." Favre last week extended a marketing deal with Briggs & Stratton (B&S), and B&S Dir of Dealer Channel Marketing Troy Blewett said that the company is "happy with Favre." Blewett: "Our general view is that this is going to blow over nationally. This will run its course. We had no second thoughts. Our dealers love him" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/3). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, "It wouldn't exactly be one of those rugged Wrangler ads if Brett Favre takes the money for not playing, right?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/3). 

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