Sports Illustrated recently named Drew Brees the 2010 Sportsman of the Year. Brees, who led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl title last February, is a worthy choice, an example of a champion who refuses to define his life by on-field achievements alone.
But if Brees is the ultimate role model, who would be his obnoxious, braying opposite? Is it even a contest? Your sports donkey of the year is Brett Favre.
His youthful indiscretions and substance abuse were eagerly forgiven. His annual flirtations with retirement were annoying, but forgotten. Even his defection to the rival Minnesota Vikings was allowable, given that the Packers front office all but pushed him out the door. Throughout last season, he was still fun to watch. He was still the ol' gunslinger.
But revelations this fall that he sent text and voicemail messages - allegedly accompanied by photos of his own, um, unit - to an attractive New York Jets employee sent Favre's public image into a tailspin. Thanks to his behavior, the future Hall of Famer is now a pathetic creep and a punch line to many.
On Monday, soon after it was learned he wouldn't start at quarterback for the first time in 297 games (not including playoffs), autographed footballs commemorating the streak appeared on Favre's website for $499.99. This final move places Favre among desperate former jocks like Pete Rose, another donkey who continues to obscure his considerable athletic accomplishments with cash grabs.