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It's OK for Brett to cry

I wasn't going to comment on Brett Favre's retirement speech -- you know, the one in which he cried. I decided to after reading Laura Ingraham's remarks on the situation:

"All these years and I didn't know there was a woman quarterback in the NFL."

"That's a great message for young boys. Get up there and act like a girl."

"At some point I thought the authorities were gonna come take him away."

"It was a non-stop blubber fest."

Melissa Clouthier also criticized Favre at her blog:
My feeling? "Get a hold of yourself, man!"


What did surprise me is that this manly man came undone during his press conference. What the hell? After his father died, he endured it with stoic grace and played anyway. And won, by the way. But his sobbing for himself at the press conference seemed narcissistic and out-of-proportion. He is retiring after playing a game. No one died. His child isn't sick. There was no tragedy. His beloved, obviously, career ended on a high note. What more could a person want?

I liked it better when men kept a tight upper lip. Women, too. Queen Elizabeth II's stoicism impresses me. I like that ilk of leader. Restrained, dignified, and intense in feeling but not expression. I just don't want to see leaders cry; any leaders, male or female. I don't want to see Hillary Clinton cry. I don't want to see George W. Bush cry. I want to see people suck it up and soldier on with grace.


Tom Hanks said,"There's no crying in baseball." Well, there's no crying in football either. It's a sport. Man up!

I initially didn't think much of it one way or the other, to be honest. I certainly empathized, and I completely understand why one might cry at such an emotional event. Favre's been struggling with the decision to retire or not retire for years, and he finally did -- he ended a long and illustrious career.

Now, let's be realistic. I don't think its OK for men to run around crying for no damn reason. Let's not be ridiculous here. Just because I think it was OK for Brett Favre to cry in this one particular instance does not mean it's OK for him to cry every time he's feeling a little "emotional". Men should be men; they shouldn't cry all the time. But let's look a little closer at the situation here. This is the video from the press conference:

Where in that press conference was Brett Favre crying like a little girl? NOWHERE. He got choked up. He said that he promised himself he wouldn't get emotional. He did, and he tried very hard to contain himself. Where is the blubbering that Laura Ingraham was criticizing him for? When was he not sucking it up? He got choked up, and very obviously tried very hard to contain himself. It wasn't like he completely broke down and started sobbing hysterically here. Let's be realistic about the "crying" before we start castigating him for it, hmm?

How does any of that equate to womanly crying?

Now yes, he was retiring from what is basically a kids game. And yeah, yeah, as Ace noted, men are only supposed to cry when their children are born or their parents die. Yeah, yeah. Fine, whatever. But let's consider this. Favre had played football for seventeen years, all but one of those years with the Green Bay Packers. When you work somewhere for that long, doing something you absolutely love, does it remain "just a job"? Favre's career with the Packers was more than just a job; his teammates, coaches, and fans more than just co-workers. The Green Bay Packers became so much more than just the team he played for; to Packers fans, he was so much more than just the quarterback. As he said in the press conference, he has given everything to that team -- playing during some of the hardest times of his life -- he still wants to play, and as he also said, he doesn't have anything left to give.

Just stop and think about the magnitude of that statement. If you had to give up doing something that you absolutely loved, that you didn't want to stop doing, but that you knew you had to for your own good and for the good of the organization, would that be an easy decision for you to make? Would it be an easy retirement? Of course not! Brett Favre is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play; one of the toughest as well (he holds the record for most consecutive starts, and that record is no small feat). He could probably play for a few more years and still be adequate. Him walking away from the Packers is not like, say, Tom Brady leaving the Patriots. Not many quarterbacks have had careers like Brett Favre has had.

Add on to the monumental decision Favre had to make the outpouring of emotion, prayers, and love that virtually the entire community of Green Bay has for him, and is it really all that surprising that the man would get a little choked up? No!

Have you ever had an intense show of emotion from anyone? I have, and it wears off on you. You can't help but get emotional yourself. Now imagine hundreds of thousands of people giving you those intense emotions.

Men should be stoic, and they shouldn't be crying like women do, but good Lord, they aren't supposed to be robots. Just because men don't show their emotions does not mean that they don't have them.

So let's lay off Brett Favre about his crying (and really, he wasn't even really crying that much). It doesn't make him womanly or wimpy or anything like that -- it just means that he's a normal human being.


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Comments (14)

Hell, I bawled right with h... (Below threshold)

Hell, I bawled right with him. (huge Packer fan here though)

Here, here, Cassy.... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Here, here, Cassy.

Among the oodles of records Favre holds, one of the more "manly" ones is that he had more victories at Lambeau Field when the temperature dipped below 32º than any other QB in Packer history. And that's for a guy from Mississippi who admittedly hates the cold weather.

You also don't play 253 consecutive games (the most ever by far for a QB) in the brutal NFL by being a wuss.

Or, how about after the day his father passed away, he goes friggin' bonkers against my Raiders and throws 4 TDs for 399 yards. A legendary game.

And if memory serves, I think he played most of the 2005 or 2006 season with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Just taking the snap from center, let alone throwing the damn ball is "man-ing up".

Farve? Acting like a girl?

Just completely ignorant and stupid "bomb throwing" by Laura I. and Melissa Clouthier who should sit down, grab their pom-poms and go back to something they know.

A group "thank you" card ha... (Below threshold)

A group "thank you" card has been created for Brett. Please stop by and leave a personal message for him!


Where does this mythical st... (Below threshold)

Where does this mythical stoic "Real Men Don't Cry " bull come from ? Geesh, Emotions happen. Admiring someone for being stoic, after an emotional event, is really a lame reason. Stoicism is not a good measure of one's strength of character. In fact, this myth is really sexist. Men can't cry cause that means they are weak ?
O'Rly ?

The man with the most strength of character ever, Jesus, wept.

Quit perpetuating this myth, and maybe our sons will grow up more well adjusted and stronger of character.

Otherwise, they'll bottle their emotions up inside and possibly unleash it at the wrong time/place. Or perhaps they'll try drowning it with alcohol or drugs, and become addicts.

I'm saying our sons shouldn't be taught to grow up weak, But they also should know they can release their emotions by crying at an appropriate time and place if they feel the need.

I still get choked up to th... (Below threshold)

I still get choked up to the point where I can't talk when I talk about my niece slowly dying from cancer 12 years ago. The way I see it, if someone were to call me a girl because of it I'd knock him unconscious, and in the process prove him wrong.

This man put everything he ... (Below threshold)

This man put everything he had into his football career. He was as passionate as a QB as there ever was. NO surprise walking away from basically his only job as an adult was emotionally difficult.

Ironic how many in Philly comment on how McNabb is so robotic, shows no emotion, etc etc, yet, others criticize a guy because he releasing some of the passion he possesses.

Give me a passionate employee or player any day of the week.

I confess, I lurched for th... (Below threshold)
-S- Author Profile Page:

I confess, I lurched for the remote and I muted the press conference quicker than I could say, "mute."

Though I empathise with the emotion, just saying, it was too much for me, the sounds, the inability to get on with things.

I did wonder why the guy didn't just get up and leave, cry his eyes out off-camera, then re-enter and resume a less emotional press conference.

This isn't intolerance, mind you, just wondering how it is this guy can make the decision and then be so incapable of discussing it without so much as a complete sentence void of gasp, tears, gasp, um, oh, tears, sniffle, gasp, um, wait, tears, sniff, sniffle, tears...it was just too much.

Notice the critiques seem t... (Below threshold)

Notice the critiques seem to come from mostly women. I think some women don't understand how much of a man is defined by what he does for a living. It may have been "just a game" to them, but to Favre it was his life. From an early age until now a good portion of who he is has been defined by what he has done. For him it was how he put bread on the table and not "just a game".

You don't have to be a pro-athlete to experience that. I've seen men cry at retirement ceremonies for your average 9-5 jobs--because it was an end to a significant part of their life. In many cases an occupation or career outlasts a marriage.

Yes, he got choked up thinking how something he loved, something that defined a large part of who he was as a person was coming to an end. If his critics can't understand that then they are the ones who need to grow up and stop acting like childish little girls.

Lou Gherig didn't cry at hi... (Below threshold)

Lou Gherig didn't cry at his retirement speech, and he was DYING!

I'm just sayin'.

I caught a bit of the Laura... (Below threshold)
Brian Day:

I caught a bit of the Laura Ingraham show this morning. She briefly mentioned that she has now changed her mind about the Bret Favre presser after listening to the Eliot Spitzer presser.

She would prefer someone who has some emotion over the robotic performance of Spitzer.

You put your whole life int... (Below threshold)

You put your whole life into something, since you're a child, see your dream come true, play your heart out for millions of fans year after year, and when it's time to hang it up he's not allowed to be emotional? Elway did the same thing when he retired. God forbid that people react to things differently than others. The dude didn't stub his toe, he reached a monumental moment in life. Laura and Melissa must not have had much to talk about that day.

Loudawg,Mentioning ... (Below threshold)

Mentioning Lou gehrig reminds me of a picture of "The Great Dimaggio" sitting outside the Yankee front office after announcing his retirement.He appears to have been crying.And not measuring up to Lou Gehrig's standards is a task at which most of us would fail

I can forgive him for cryin... (Below threshold)

I can forgive him for crying at his retirement presser.

Now, that Wrangler commercial could be unforgivable, though . . .

I sure wasn't surprised tha... (Below threshold)

I sure wasn't surprised that he cried. And I'm not sure why that's even supposed to be a big deal. Brett Favre was one of the most passionate players to ever play ANY game. That's what we love about him. He played with raw passion and emotion. He played with all of his heart. He poured everything he had into the game for 17 years.

He didn't feel like he had to sit up there and put on a show for us. That wouldn't have been Brett. Another thing we love about him is that he's an everyman. He doesn't put up fronts. He's not fancy. He's not fake. Brett Favre is the real deal.

That doesn't make him less of a man in my eyes.







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