OPINION: Brett Favre should not be removed from the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Former quarterback Brett Favre has been accused of using welfare funds from the state of Mississippi, with the help of former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, to build a volleyball facility at his daughter’s university, and now his previously unquestioned place in the NFL Hall of Fame is under fire.

Eight players were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Arguably the most notable member of this class was Favre, who was in his first year of eligibility.

It goes without saying — Favre was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, and his conduct off the field, after his time in the league, should not constitute his removal from the Hall.

While there are many different factors that might impact a player’s eligibility into the Hall of Fame, off-the-field conduct is not an aspect of one’s career that is considered. Many players that are currently in the Hall, like OJ Simpson, Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis and Michael Irvin, all have criminal records. However, these athletes still remain part of NFL history, as their contributions to the game are too great to ignore.
Over 20 seasons, Favre amassed a laundry list of impressive stats, including three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards from 1995-1997, 11 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl win.

Favre’s notable career statistics and legendary status should speak for itself. It is his talents on the field that spanned over two decades that earned him his gold Hall of Fame jacket. Regardless of where you stand politically, it would be foolish to deny that his greatness on the field earned him a spot in Canton.
In July 2017, Favre met with John Davis, the state’s welfare director at the time, and Nancy New, who was the head of the Mississippi Community Education Center. MCEC is a non-profit that works with the state to help underprivileged communities.

At this meeting, Favre asked the Mississippi Department of Human Services to fund the volleyball facility, and state officials agreed to use $4 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.
Millions of dollars later, Favre had what he wanted — a beautiful volleyball facility for his daughter — paid for by those who struggle to make ends meet.

Over the course of his NFL career, Favre earned nearly $140 million, and this does not even include the product endorsements he earned throughout his career.

Favre’s behavior should not be ignored; it is despicable and he should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. However, he should not be removed from the Hall of Fame. There are plenty of players that are currently in the Hall whose stats on the field are not necessarily worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, but that is irrelevant. Those players are in the Hall, and the committee of voters deemed them worthy of donning the gold jacket.

Had Favre committed these acts during his playing career, perhaps those calling for his removal from the Hall of Fame would have a valid argument. However, Favre retired from professional football 12 years ago. While he should be held accountable for his conduct, ignoring and dismissing his contributions to the game of football by removing him from the Hall of Fame is the wrong approach — and sets a dangerous precedent moving forward.

 

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