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Sweet(s) Talk: Silence isn’t golden in the land of ‘Green and Gold’

Appearing on the Big Show Network recently, Pro Football Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf complained about current NFL quarterbacks trying to take charge of their careers, existing contractual commitments to their current teams notwithstanding.

“We have a lot of divas playing in the league right now,” Wolf said. “I fail to understand that all these guys have long-term deals. I can’t believe the game has changed that remarkably.”

“These guys” is most likely in reference to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Each is signed for at least the next three seasons. Each reportedly and/or actually wanted to be traded to new teams.

The whole situation has sent the national and Wisconsin sports media into a frenzy, for one simple factor from my estimation: Rodgers hasn’t spoken much about the situation, but you know what — he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t owe anyone an explanation for not being at voluntary or mandatory off-season workouts. He can certainly afford to pay his fine(s) for not being there, so if he wants to cough up that much money to prove a point, that’s his choice.

Is Wolf right, is Rodgers being a diva? In regards to his contract situation, yes, he is being a diva. He signed the contract — fulfill your contractual obligations. But other than telling his long time friend and outgoing ESPN personality Kenny Mayne recently on Mayne’s last appearance on SportsCenter, that he — to paraphrase — loves everything about Green Bay and his time there, except the current culture that upper management has created, the reigning NFL MVP hasn’t spoken a word about the situation publicly.

Well, the start of the current culture has been building since Wolf retired in 2001. I will not throw the late Ted Thompson under the bus, but it’s very apparent to anyone who understands the game and the current “win now” structure that is the NFL, that what started as a little snowball when Mike Sherman was general manager, has now turned into an avalanche under Brian Gutekunst, and Mark Murphy.

Any amount of success the Packers have had since Rodgers has been the starting signal caller, has been due mostly, maybe entirely, to his performance. Ole No. 12 is smart enough to realize the culture is sour and it’s about time someone speaks up and says so.

To sum things up, Rodgers is free to handle this situation however he so chooses. Packers fans, non-Packers fans or anyone for that matter may also agree or not agree with how he’s handling it, in whole or in part. So unless he doesn’t show up for training camp approximately five weeks from now, which would be a different story or situation all together, take a page out of Rodgers book of quotes “R-E-L-A-X”. …

On Friday, the Cubs hosted Miami and played only the ninth Friday night game at Wrigley Field since lights were installed in 1988. Six of them took place in 2020 when no fans were allowed due to COVID-19.

The Cubs got permission from the city to play the night home contest because the team knew it would return to Chicago early in the morning after playing the Mets in New York the previous night.

Friday and Saturday night games usually are prohibited at the iconic ballpark because they worsen parking and congestion problems when nearby bars and restaurants draw big crowds.

Wrigley Field is definitely a bucket list stadium not only in baseball, but in all of North American professional sports. It’s definitely worth going to a game there, even though a portion the fan base that occupies it is incredibly nauseating for varying reasons. Some Cubs fans enjoy the game and can be critical of their team and unbiased about other players and teams. Then there is the majority of “Northsiders” who ruin it for everyone else, especially fans of opposing teams. …

First year North Central High School baseball coach Jason Mercier, is the older brother of former Jets head basketball coach Adam Mercier. The elder Mercier, who is a proud United States Marine veteran, guided the young and inexperienced Jets to a two-win season in 2021. In a way to make light of the situation, Jason’s face lit up with excitement when referencing his brother Adam’s first year on the NC boys basketball bench at the helm of the varsity squad.

“My brother went 1-20 and lost 20 games in a row to end his first season. I doubled his first year win total, I must be good to go, because they kept him around,” said Jason. Adam, now a U.P. Sports Hall of Fame council member, went on to guide the Jason Whitens and Dawson Bilski-led Jets to three consecutive Class D state basketball championships. I guess we’ll wait and see if the elder Mercier can live up to the accomplishments of his little brother. …

Staying in North Menominee County, a ‘lil birdie’ told me there may be some exciting news coming out of Powers area in regards to an already accomplished student athlete. The cat will get let out of the bag soon enough, but not quite yet. …

A little over a month ago, my wife April, our daughter Jaylynn and our dog Lambeau moved across the Menominee River to Niagara. Yes, I am now a resident of a state other than Michigan, and a community other than Norway. To be fair, before I get on a soap box, I will say a large portion of the reason we moved to where we did was the house is the one that had everything we were looking for. I will also say that anyone else’s opinion or beliefs about what I am about to talk about are views they’re entitled to have, no doubt about it.

I am not a political person, I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I generally vote for who I feel is the best candidate, or I don’t vote for a particular office if I don’t feel either candidate is worthy. What I will say is that the way the state of Michigan was guided (dictated) through the coronavirus pandemic was a disgrace. I have friends and acquaintances throughout the country who I served with in the Navy, or met over the years that I still keep in touch with, who would message or call me to see if I was all right or ask if I was going to move out of Michigan, away from the nonsense.

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I am not going to tap dance around anything or any topic, My wife and I were on the same page with our views of wanting to move. So much so, that when there were press conferences and the words “We’re Michiganders, we’ll get through this” were uttered, it would make our skin crawl.

So it was time to move and we did, and we’re as happy with our decision as we could possibly be. …

On a similar topic, I unfortunately lost a close friend of recent years over the divide that both political parties caused in our great nation over the recent presidential election. The friend and I didn’t have a difference of opinion about political party lines, the individual crossed my “line in the sand” about discussing politics and did so with a dump truck load of sand. And worst off all, did it over something I have no control over. The moral of this topic is this: None of us have much to any control over what politicians do or say, whether it be good, bad or otherwise. Ruining a friendship over such things is certainly not worth it. It is also not wise when a politician at the state level severely mishandles the lives and well being of an entire state’s population, without looking at it outside of political party lines, to see exactly what is occurring and the effects it’s having on all of the state’s residents. …

OK, now that I climbed off of my soap box, I’ll say that local high school sports is over except for a trio of Wisconsin track athletes. Now I can get back to writing this column regularly and give everyone some feature stories to read, a couple that are long overdue. Congratulations to all of the area graduates and good luck in your future endeavors.

Have a good week and weekend ladies and gentleman. It feels good to be a writer again, and not only a reporter. …

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