Months after the dust finally settled on the question of whether Brett Favre will continue to play football, Favre has found another way to periodically attract attention: By talking about whether he’d let the son he doesn’t have play football.
Favre, as pointed out Tuesday night by MDS, has now commented twice in recent months on whether the future Hall of Famer would allow nonexistent Brett Lorenzo Favre Jr. play football. Favre has joined the likes of President Barack Obama in offering opinions and insights on what they’d let sons they don’t have do.
Both have said that they wouldn’t let their sons play football. Obama actually said he wouldn’t let the son he doesn’t have play “pro football,” which assumes a level of control that even the most powerful man in the world would never be able to exercise over an adult male. Until a man has a son who is beginning to feel the effects of a full complement of testosterone, it’s impossible to comment intelligently on what the man would or wouldn’t do.
Having a son is a lot more complicated than not having one, especially when the time comes to allow the son to make decisions for himself, to develop social skills, to nurture physical abilities, and to learn how to confront and overcome adversity. Plenty of risks are taken during these developmental years, from riding a bike to strapping on ice skates, skis, and/or a snowboard to bench-pressing a bar of weights heavy enough to crush a throat to lingering on a baseball field a little bit longer than advisable with a thunderstorm approaching to getting in a car with a friend who just got his or her driver’s license. And plenty of other stuff that entails risk of injury.
It’s easy for someone without a son to say, “I wouldn’t let him play football.” The more accurate explanation for someone who has a son who wants to play football is, “I’m worried he’ll get hurt, in the same way I worry about something happening to him in anything else he does that could result in him getting hurt.”
For Favre, the concern has a second prong that traces back to his own ego. Favre seems to believe it would be impossible for his male child to be as good as him at football, so he wouldn’t want him to be subjected to undue pressure to live up to the awkwardly-pronounced family name. (Joe Montana may agree with that general sentiment; Archie Manning may not.)
Regardless, folks who don’t have sons who are asked about whether they’d let their sons play football should think about choosing their words a bit more carefully and pragmatically, especially since those who have harvested the words will be tempted to blow them up into some broader indictment on the sport and/or to provide ammunition for mothers who would bubble wrap their baby boy and put him on a mantle. (But not so high that he might fall off it.)
I wish Favre actually had a boy. Because it would be fun to watch young Lorenzo tell the old man to sit down and shut up when trying to spout off about how the game he played into his 40s is too violent and too dangerous and, son, be careful what you do with that cell phone.