An interesting thing happened at Miller Park Monday afternoon.
Brewers slugger Ryan Braun received a standing ovation from the crowd during the team’s home opener.
Not exactly stunning news, as Braun is the best player on the Brewers, arguably one of the best in the major leagues.
Except this is also the same Ryan Braun who was suspended for 65 games last season after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. This suspension has forever tarnished his image, and no matter what Braun does or says going forward, he will always have this hanging over his head.
Despite this black mark on his reputation, he still received a standing ovation from the fans.
This got me thinking-how many of those who cheered for Braun still view former Packers quarterback as a pariah?
Ryan Braun was caught cheating playing the game he receives millions of dollars to play. That is a fact. Granted there are some questionable circumstances about exactly how he was found guilty of doing this, but the fact is (at least in the eyes of baseball brass) that he is guilty of cheating.
And as a welcome back to the game, he received a standing ovation from Brewers fans.
What exactly did Brett Favre do to be shunned by many of the Packer faithful, six years since leaving the Packers and four since retiring once and for all from the NFL?
Did he act like a diva who could do no wrong? You could say that.
Was he guilty of needing to feel wanted by the Packers organization, even after everything he had accomplished on the field? Perhaps.
Was he guilty of trying to angle his way out of Green Bay and to Minnesota, which led to a very messy divorce between himself and the Packers? Yes, although both sides could have done things differently to prevent much of the messiness.
Did he eventually wind up playing for the hated rival Vikings? Yes
But here is the key question: was Favre ever found guilty of cheating while playing the game? No.
So why is Favre still viewed in such a negative light by so many Packers fans?
Because he wanted out of Green Bay at the end of his career? Because he wanted to play for a rival? Because he never thanked the fans for his time in Green Bay?
Last time I checked none of these were suspension worthy acts by a professional athlete. Selfish acts maybe, but worthy of a suspension and permanent black eye on a professional record? No way.
In fact, based on the reaction Braun received yesterday, it seems as though fans are much more forgiving of him than Favre, and that is odd.
It should be noted that I have no vested interest in the Brewers or Ryan Braun. My team of choice (Yankees) has more than their fair share of issues that I have my own opinions about. But the difference in how Braun was received and how Favre continues to be viewed by many is head scratching.
I wonder how many of those who stood and cheered for Braun yesterday would boo Favre the day he returns to Lambeau Field? Isn’t that a double standard in how the two athletes are viewed?
Help me understand why these two athletes are seen in such different lights by many of the same people.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at [email protected].