Brett Favre: The Archetype of White Privilege in Sports

Written by Rizoh. Posted in Sports

Published on August 19, 2010 with 27 Comments

Whenever I’m ready to forget that different standards apply to whites and blacks in our society, some privileged prick finds a way to remind me that being black is indeed a full-time job. This privileged prick? We’ll just call him Brett Favre. Favre is the paradigm of white privilege in professional sports. The way sports writers salivate at the mention of Favre’s name, you’d think he spent the off-season turning water into wine. I will have you know that he spent this off-season the same way he did the last 3 ones – keeping his teammates in limbo. Favre has had more fake retirements than Jay-Z and Scarface put together.

The latest example saw the Vikings send three players on the team’s private jet to woo back the 40-year old QB for his 20th season in the NFL. Minnesota also offered Favre more money for his inconveniences. Are you fucking serious? Imagine how the media would react if this had been LeBron James or Vince Young.

It may seem like I’m comparing apples and oranges but look closely and you’ll notice the common thread. LeBron’s grandiose display of narcissism and Brett’s bazillion retirement announcements are rooted in the same desire to hog the spotlight. Both guys crave attention, period. Similarly, the media’s reaction is grounded in racial overtones. When a black player like LeBron does it, he gets demonized for his attitude. When Favre does the same thing, it shows that he’s passionate about the game.

There’s no denying that No. 4 is one of the best gunslingers in the game, but miss me with that passion bullshit. What? LeBron doesn’t have passion for winning? He made a decision based on his desire to win and people were calling for his head the next day.

It’s not just the reaction to Favre’s off-season dealings that hints at double standards. His on-field mistakes are also interpreted as Gunslinger Favre being himself. Favre throws an interception under pressure (he’s the only player to throw two overtime picks in two playoff games) and that’s seen as part of his genius. But if a black QB throws a pick, the only logical explanation is that he’s boneheaded. When Favre admitted that he was addicted to Vicodin, Jim Mora reasoned that good ol’ Brett did it for his team. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard this argument used in favor of a black player in any sport.

To be fair, sports writers dig the Favre narrative for reasons that extend beyond race. He’s a likable guy and he backs up his antics with impeccable on-field performance. Still, it’s impossible to overlook the blatant double standards. I’m going to end this on a positive note by saying that I hope Brett Favre throws 7 TDs and 33 interceptions this season.



Rizoh is the most powerful man in all the lands. He lives in Houston where he earned a BS in Nerf Herding. He's the founder of The Rap Up, the former editor of, and is in the Grammy-awaiting band Pervertable Disciples.

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There are currently 27 Comments on Brett Favre: The Archetype of White Privilege in Sports. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. I’m not sure this is about race. I think it’s more of an age issue, to be honest witcha… Favre is legendary. He made his bones when LBJ was dating cheerleaders. That’s the difference.

  2. …and I say all this not as a Favre fan. Just sayin’…

  3. Eh, I’m not so sure you hit the mark on this one. I’d say it has more to do with the fact that Brett Favre’s arrogance is less blatant. I mean, sure it’s blatant that he keeps changing his mind, but I don’t think it’s obvious to a lot of people where it stems from. People watch Brett Favre retire and then “un-retire” 49 times in one season and they think, “Why go through all that trouble?” They watch LeBron makeout with himself on the sideline and they think “What an Asshole.” They never analyze the actions to see where they’re seated below the surface, despite the fact that they’re both essentially just seeking attention. Character has a lot to do with sports, probably more than it should – just look at Tiger. He cheated on his wife, he didn’t suddenly stop being good at golf. Well he did, but that was after he got the evil villain treatment. There’s also the fact that Favre’s antics don’t really involve any franchise as big as New York which, thanks mostly to our beloved Hip-Hop, extend well beyond how good the team is and into pop culture territory. I don’t know about down in Houston, but here in Manhattan, nobody thought LeBron was a dick, they wanted to kill him because they saw him as a traitor. If Favre came back on the Dolphins, I’m sure the Vikings fans would hate him.

  4. Interesting article but you seem to have missed some important factors here. Last season was one of Brett’s best years ever, not in the last 3 years, not the last 5 but EVER. Stats from last year:

    363 completions (tied for 2nd best year of his career)
    68.4% completion percentage (best of his career)
    4,202 yards passing (3rd best year of his career)
    107.2 QB Ratiing (Best of his career)
    7 INTS (Lowest of his career)

    For a 40 year old dude, that is amazing.

    You say: “The latest example saw the Vikings send three players on the team’s private jet to woo back the 40-year old QB for his 20th season in the NFL. Minnesota also offered Favre more money for his inconveniences. Are you fucking serious? Imagine how the media would react if this had been LeBron James or Vince Young.”

    If Lebron was 39 (which is how old he would be in his 20th season in the NBA) and putting up the best numbers of his career and was flip flopping on retiring I bet the media AND whatever team he was on would be the same way.

    I do agree with this point:

    “When a black player like LeBron does it, he gets demonized for his attitude. When Favre does the same thing, it shows that he’s passionate about the game.”

    But I don’t think its coming from a racial point of view, I think its coming from an “age” and “goals” point of view.

    The game has changed. Loyalty is obviously out the window in sports. You won’t have guys on the same team for years and years trying to make things work. Everyone will just jump ship and form a super team.

    This is the new era of sports for the younger generation: Do what it takes to make it in your sport fast so that you can make your money, take care of your family and retire nicely.

    Which is all good since the players today in both sports are bigger and stronger than they used to be. So prime years of your career are shorter and your window for “greatness” is shorter. That is Lebron’s thinking.

    He’s only 25 and thinking “ok, I need to get a championship otherwise its all pointless.”

    Which today is a reasonable explanation for what he does.

    Favre on the other hand is the old dude who just had arguably the best year of his career since they went on to win the superbowl in Green Bay and he’s LITERALLY running out there with guys HALF his age. So of course they’ll play it as the childhood wonderment of sports.

    In the end you can’t put this all on a “white privilege” thing for Brett Favre. He just had an amazing year and his teammates and his team want him back. They clicked. I bet if it was Warren Moon/Doug Williams/Aaron Brooks behind the center they would do the same thing.

    Lastly, its never cool to wish downfall upon someone. I hope Brett has a good year and gets Minnesota as far as they can go.

    I’m a Raiders fan so that just took a lot for me to say all this.

  5. Favre had the best season of his career last season. No question about that. But can you picture a black QB handling this whole faux retirement thing the same way without being called a diva or spoiled brat? The blind adulation is what bothers me the most.

  6. I considered the age thing, but it just didn’t stick.

  7. Look at it this way. Donovan McNabb is one of the most accomplished active black QBs in the league. Here’s a 5-time pro bowler that made his mark throwing to mediocre wide receivers (with the exception of one T.O.). McNabb took the Eagles to a shitload of division championships and damn they nearly won a Super Bowl in 05. What does McNabb get in return? Philadelphia shows McNabb the door and hands the key to an untested Kevin Kolb. McNabb himself once said that black QBs have to work extra hard to keep their job in the league. That’s just the world we live in.

  8. but the packers did the same thing to favre?

  9. Different circumstances. Brett would still be a Packer today if he wanted to. Aaron Rodgers had to step up out of necessity, whereas the Eagles drafted Kolb with the intention of giving him McNabb’s job someday. Brett walked away on his own accord. McNabb was forced out.

  10. wow! racist shit man, dudes a legend that loves to play the game hes older than most dads and runs around getting nailed by 20 year olds, stop hating a legend

  11. they drafted aaron rodgers thinkin brett was gonna retire two years later…when he didnt they said peace…idk if you dont remember how the packers thing went down with favre but he felt like he was disresepcted by the packers owner cuz he wasnt making a big enough attempt to make brett wanna play one more year…its actually a very comparable situation

  12. cool racism bro.

  13. Care to explain?

  14. Good post Riz, I had wanted to bring in McNabb as an example of a black QB who in recent memory got unfairly treated. Not just him, even Steve McNair before his passing was shut out of Baptist Sports complex by the Titans for fear that if he got injured they’d have to pay him money that was supposedly due to him…LOL. Basically, he too was forced out of Nashville to go to Baltimore. The Packers wanted Favre on board but he kept dilly-dallying and like any other sound business organization they had to move the heck on. The iggles and titans pretty much forced out guys who had battled through and through for them. That’s why the whole notion of loyalty and what is deserved or owed one in pro sports is a bunch of dill-weed. I honestly believe its a farce sold to kids so as to keep them in line once they turn pro. I’d teach my children otherwise..

    Again, ppl just quietly forget. I’d say too the Lebron/Favre comparison is pretty acceptable given the fact that both are prime players. Sure, Favre is old so there is a certain tinged excitement at the fact that he’s old and is playing at a high level but ppl need to miss me with these lame excuses as to why he is treated differently from Lebron. Both are high level playing athletes, though LBJ hasn’t won a ring yet and is 15 yrs or so younger. As a matter of fact Lebron never owed CLE anything. Yet has been painted as some grotesque creature because he decided playing for another team was what was best for his career. But Brett gets away with missing training camp, inadvertently squeezing more money out of a team and having 3 teammates pretty much beg him to come back to play.

    Please Breath Farce deserves “Decision” treatment as much as ‘Bron. At least ‘Bron didn’t fluctuate and told us point blank where he was going and what he was going to do next….and yes, if Breath were say McNabb or Young for example ppl would have been horrendous but hey we live in “post-racial America” or whatevertheheckthatmeans these days.

  15. At least someone gets it. Phew!

  16. racist bitch, ppl like you need to go get fucked, you make the world a piece of shit

  17. I feel you on this one. Farve is not a team player, but most will cheer him on if his wins or loses. If McNabb did the same thing, I bet the media would say cut his ass. Farve gets a pass on some many levels. Yes he had the best season of his career, but also played with one of the best RB’s in the game, something he couldn’t say before. He has 2 of the best young WR and he has a very under-rated TE. T Jack made the playoffs with the Vikes. So Farve was only a game or 2 better with more weapons.

    Farve should get blasted for keeping his team from moving on with the season. And the Vikings are dumb not to prepare for the future.

  18. He retired once and un-retired once. The other times people think (or just make up) he retired he was injured with a shoulder and an ankle. He said two weeks ago on camera (when all the fake reporters claimed he was retiring) that he had a dr appointment and then he would make the call. But, if everything went well at the docs, he would be back. Why is it that reporters and bloggers never get the facts right? I mean, sure, you will always have your slant on a person as it relates to whether you like them or not. Whether he is cute or has more money or dates super models, etc. The guy has played 19 years. It’s not his fault that shitty sports writers and shitty bloggers have nothing else to write about. He is a column space filler. Race? Come on! Is that the best you got? Cause that shit doesn’t float. LBJ just got non stop chatter for 2 months. Jordan got it as well. If you think race is the answer to any question concerning Brett favre.. you, indeed, are a racist.

  19. Hmmm… well Joe Montana went to numerous NFC Championships and also DID win the big game and he was shown the door as well. Just because McFlab is black is NOT the reason he was shown the door. Black QB’s arn’t the only QB’s who have to fight for their jobs. They all do! It’s not race to blame because there have only been 2-3 black QB’s worth a shit in the league. I suppose if you want to blame everyone else for the lack of superbowl winning QB’s.. that’s just the new world we live in. Blame everyone else except the person who is to blame. You know the guy.. the one who can’t cut it. The one with the lesser talent. The same one who took his team to superbowl. Oh, wait.. Doug Williams is the only black man to do that.

  20. Brett Favre was shown the door. He was no longer needed. The organization decided to go in a different direction. Are you 13 or just not a researcher or fact checker?

  21. I will add that the idea to do the “decision”was Jim Grays. He thought it up and posed the idea to his boss who said it would be ok, IF, he could get Lebron on board. Which Lebron did agree to as long as his demands were met to raise money for the kids. People hated LBJ because of the way he left Cleveland without alerting them he was leaving. (I am not one of those people). Black doesn’t play into any of it.

    Tiger was hounded for 6 months by news scum. His race wasn’t an issue. News scum had to know if he was in sex rehab, on his boat in the Bahamas, how much the fine was for crashing his car in his driveway. When he was at the top of his game, people hounded him the same but for different reasons. Race has no bearing on any of this stuff.

    I disagree with your whole premise of this article. The way you put in a racial spin was for one purpose… to get clicks on your shit story and opinion. If you honestly think you are right, why do 99% of the people who bother to refute your shit disagree with you? You’re just like the little kid who cried wolf… the more you make shit up.. the less people will believe you when something is actually racially motivated.

  22. Shut up. You’re just trying to find a way to complain about how white people are treated better.

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