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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Another perspective

Posted by: Hammer / 9:52 AM

More on the Viking sex cruise from the Strib. Seventeen players were on the cruise -- 1/3 of the team's roster. None, some, or all of them may have engaged in some bad behavior. Players, today, are different:

"It was different back then," [Carl] Eller said. "I think in general players were more respectful for the team. There was a great reverence and honor in being a Viking. That was an internal thing that was enforced by every player on the team."

But was it different? Did Babe Ruth have syphilis and cost the Yankees a pennant in 1924 (the bellyache heard around the world?)? Was it gonorrhea? Was it an intestinal problem? It's too late to know -- but Babe Ruth was legendary for his promiscuity. It just wasn't talked about back then.

An aging Max McGee was out all night before the first Super Bowl. He scored two touchdowns while hung over. Brett Favre played his first college game with a severe hangover -- a result of sharing a case and a half of beer with his roommate. James Lofton, Eddie Lee Ivery, Mark Chmura, and Lewis Billips were all mired in sex scandals in the 1980s and 1990s.

I've followed the Packers closely my whole life, so I know these stories. These were not national stories the way the Viking sex cruise has been trumpeted across the nation. I'm guessing you could find similar stories about any team across any decade.

I'm not at all excusing any behavior. I object to the idea that players are all that different now than they were 20 years ago. The press has changed far more than the players have changed. I don't trust people who tell me how good the good old days were -- they usually have an agenda.


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