Credit to verno329 and Donald’s Designated Driver for continuing to take me to task on the question of whether or not Mark Murphy’s gesture was truly a bribe. Several strong arguments – read their comments on previous posts. Their contention is that it’s not a bribe mostly because the offer apparently is one that had first been made back in March by Mark Murphy as a way to keep Favre connected to the team (and also hopefully keep him retired). Which back then, as they point out, was mostly a good faith gesture by the team. It seems at least some of the info verno and DDD used to bolster their argument came from this morning’s Tom Silverstein article at jsonline (correct me if I’m wrong guys). Read this article as it does shed light on the whole situation and to some extent makes Mark Murphy look less shady and quite possibly, not shady at all. Another argument for you guys here is that Favre actually acknowledged Murphy’s effort for trying to work this out. If this were a pure bribe, my guess is Favre would be pissed they tried to bribe him when he’s made it very clear he just wants to play (though again, perhaps Favre is moved by money more than many of us suspect).
But I still think there is an important question here of timing. Murphy’s apparent explanation for the timing is that because the talks had reached an impasse, he thought he’d go back to the original idea of offering this again to Favre in hopes of keeping him connected to the organization – even if he does decide to play more. Again, not a bad explanation, and if nothing had happened between Favre and the Packers in the last few months and Murphy were to have simply re-offered this, I wouldn’t probably call it a bribe. But Murphy and others cannot ignore the events of the last few months that have been at the core of this whole controversy. The fact is, Favre wanted to return and the Packers have been doing everything they can to not let this happen. Given that background, this offer by Murphy now cannot be considered a 100%, magnanimous, goodwill gesture. Time and circumstances have changed this situation significantly. It would be impossible to deny that at least part of (and I would argue most of) Murphy’s intention in doing this now was to keep Favre retired. That’s why I don’t think calling it a bribe of sorts is unreasonable. In fact, I could see this offer having two different labels over time. In March, it was a somewhat genuine/I’ll even say goodwill offer to keep Favre connected to the team (though again, Silverstein notes it was also done at that time with the hope of keeping Favre retired). The Thursday offer, while it may still have had some of those more innocent/goodwill qualities associated with it, due to the timing and all that’s happened between Favre and the front office, I think smells stronger of a bribe.
STEVE ADDS: Tom Silverstein writes that “there were only occasional talks about it between March and June before Favre started making noise about wanting to return to football.” But according to his own newspaper, Favre was making noise about wanting to return to football in March.