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Sweet(s) Talk. … Upsetting, regardless of the intent

This is a topic I not only promised to write on, but have put some thought into for several weeks now. As some or many of you may know, I am an avid Green Bay Packers fan. My family has had season tickets to the Green Package games at Lambeau Field since 1961, when my late grandfather Ernie Lardenoit, a former beer distributor, used some connections at the former Oconto Brewing Co. and acquired season tickets, the same four seats we occupy to this day.

But unfortunately, as this season has gone on, a completely disheartening and disrespectful thing has occurred, not only within the Packers organization, but league wide. The Packers organization and the NFL have allowed their players to publicly display their protests in regards to racial injustices and inequality in America. Before I go on, I want to make it clear I have no problem for individuals or groups fighting for their rights, in racial injustice or inequality, absolutely none.

The Packers players have chosen to remain in the locker room and or tunnel leading out onto the field, during the national anthem; both at home and away games, throughout the season. And the Packers organization has chosen, like the NFL, to support them by allowing them to do it. Yes, I understand from a business standpoint, why the players would have support from the organizations. The players make the NFL, and their teams, the billions of dollars it generates.

But there is a time and place for things like that, and a person’s place of employment is not the time and place.

The NFL fines its players, coaches, teams, etc. for countless other things. An example of that is New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who wore one green and one red cleat when he and the Saints played on Christmas Day. Kamara was fined $5,000 by the NFL for that. How wonderful of the NFL, fine a guy for wearing festive cleats on a national holiday, but it’s OK to disrespect the country, its flag and so on. Real nice that organizations within our country finds things like this acceptable. ….

On the same note, as a proud veteran, myself and countless other veterans cannot support the NFL or its players and teams who choose to be disrespectful to the blanket of freedom provided for them. The NFL Players Association has made it clear that the players staying in the locker room isn’t intended to be disrespectful to the flag or our country. Well, something may not have an intention of causing disrespect, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t in the end. And lastly, it also doesn’t mean that despite the intention not being geared towards being disrespectful to the flag and country, that myself or anyone else can’t or shouldn’t feel disrespected, upset or not like it just the same. …

Staying with the topic of the Green Bay Packers, I was saddened to learn of the passing of former general manager Ted Thompson, who died Wednesday night at the age of 68. Thompson, a former NFL player in the 1980s, worked for the Packers under Pro Football Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf, in the mid 1990s, and is said to have been an asset to the college scouting department.

The Packers won Super Bowl XXXI and appeared in Super Bowl XXXII during Wolf’s tenure. Thompson left the organization for a few years to work for the Seattle Seahawks, returning to take over as GM of the Green and Gold in 2005. Thompson remained as the team’s GM until the end of the 2017 season, stepping aside due to health issues. The Packers won Super Bowl XLV in 2010, and they have had the NFL’s best regular season winning percentage since 2005, to name two accomplishments over that time.

It can be said that Thompson has a great deal to do with those and other accomplishments. However, there are some things that fell short during his reign, despite Thompson’s strengths as a GM and dedication to the Packers organization.

How can an organization, who has had as talented a player as Aaron Rodgers go the past 10 seasons without not only winning a Super Bowl, but making to back to one? One thing that stands out is Thompson’s reluctance to sign free agents, and reluctance to re-sign or in some cases keep accomplished players with the team beyond their rookie contract. A fresh face in the GM office at 1265 Lombardi Ave., one that doesn’t have a one-sided way of building a roster, is apparent this season the third that Brian Gutekunst has been the Packers general manager.

A win on Sunday would mean their first Super Bowl appearance in 10 seasons. Pointing out the obvious in a professional and constructive manner is how I feel I should go about doing this job that I enjoy so much. After all, this is a column, not current news reporting. Rest in peace, Ted. …

Stay safe and healthy ladies and gentlemen. Be cautious, be aware and be considerate to others. The pandemic is still going strong and unfortunately has turned people against one another in some aspects; which is a topic for another day. …

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