Laura Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Friday night. Host Bill O’Reilly asked her about her criticism of Brett Favre for his crying. I’m not sure if this reflects what she said on the radio — I still haven’t heard it — but she redeems herself a bit with her more positive general comments about Favre. See the exchange below. She calls him “an American icon,” “an amazing person,” and a “wonderful family man.” So it’s really all about the crying, not about Favre. I still disagree with her. It’s entirely appropriate for a man who has given most of his adult life to the greatest franchise in the most-watched professional sport in America to be emotional about ending his career. But it’s less offensive to hear her put him in context.
Still, some friendly advice for my friend: I’d steer clear of Wisconsin for the time being or at least wear full body armor on any visit.
O’REILLY: All right, now, you are also working over Brett Favre. Laura Ingraham, everybody, is working over NFL legend Brett Favre.
O’REILLY: What is your beef with Brett Favre, Laura?
INGRAHAM: No, it’s not about Brett Favre. OK. Brett Favre is an American sports icon. He’s going to be featured, I’m sure, in a future O’Reilly icon segment. He’s an amazing person, wonderful family man.
I merely brought up this issue on the radio today, Bill, that even these big, hulky, strong, impressive men today are in a situation where they just break down blubbering for, like, 20 minutes at a retirement press conference. And women overwhelmingly calling into my show said, “Well, we really like Brett Favre. We think he’s amazing, but enough with the waterworks.”
We just — what happened to John Wayne and Ronald Reagan and Lou Gehrig and this idea of, you know, leaving the stage gracefully? You know, maybe having a little tear in your eye. But I mean, the sobs, they just never stopped, and it was kind of funny. Sorry. It was amusing.
O’REILLY: Not all of us will cry upon retirement, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Bill, in when the last “Talking Points” is done, if that happens, heaven forbid, will you be weeping uncontrollably? Will that happen?
O’REILLY: There is, to quote Tom Hanks — to quote Tom Hanks, there’s no crying on in the no-spin zone. At least not on the host part. The guests, they cry.
INGRAHAM: Yes, well, it’s just an interesting cultural development. I think it’s not about Brett Favre. He’s a wonderful person. But you know, you had Voinovich crying, Dick Durbin crying.
O’REILLY: Everybody’s crying, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Dan Rather crying.
O’REILLY: I’m telling you, but emotional men, they do have an attraction for a certain kind of woman. I don’t believe you are that kind of woman.
INGRAHAM: Not me.
UPDATE: Commenter “PackerBelle” makes a good point that I’d missed the first time I read this exchange. (See below.) Ingraham claimed on O’Reilly “the sobs, they just never stopped.” That is flat wrong. Favre was choked up at the beginning of his press conference and struggled to get through his opening remarks. They lasted a couple of minutes. After that, he regained his composure and was steady for more than an hour. In fact, it was his ability to talk about his long career without getting emotional again that dashed my hopes that he would change his mind and return. (Notice I say “dashed,” not “extinguished.”) If you saw only the highlights of the press conference you might think that the sobs “never stopped.”