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The Dark Heart Of The NFL Beats Within The Packers Mailbag Column

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 09: President and CEO of Green Bay Packers Mark Murphy introduces Matt LaFleur (not in frame) as head coach of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 09, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
President and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, Mark Murphy.
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Football fans are monsters. Their whims and wishes should neither be acknowledged nor catered to. Stray from this path and you could end up in a dark place, having to explain to “Marilyn, a longtime Packer fan and shareholder” that no, the Green Bay Packers do not discriminate against white prospects. Earlier this month, a concerned Marilyn sent an email to Mark Murphy, president of the Packers, who answers fan questions in a monthly column called “Murphy Takes 5” for the team website. Marilyn wrote that she had counted the number of white players selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft this year and arrived at an unsatisfying 11. The reason she did this tabulation herself? “When I Googled the question of how many white overall were drafted, Google wouldn’t answer it. I wonder why.”

Marilyn continued, “I sure hope we aren’t going to have to hear all the whining about equity, justice and all the markings on hats and shoes and all else. I suggest the NFL is actually racist for always choosing and highlighting black players.  I am sure that is why you chose Love for a QB when he never should have been chosen.” In response, Murphy offered an answer far more polite than Marilyn’s email warranted, assuring her that the Packers make draft decisions based on ability and reminding her that “Vince Lombardi, who was discriminated against because he was Italian, helped change things when he came to Green Bay and built the Packers into a dynasty by focusing on bringing in Black players.” Very good, Mark. Marilyn had surely never considered such wisdom, and was immediately cured of her racism upon thinking about all the hardships Vince Lombardi endured as an Italian American.

I was curious: If you’re not going to roast the hell out of Marilyn in your answer, why bother accepting this question at all? Marilyn’s seems like precisely the kind of email the MT5 screener makes it three words through before smashing the delete key and moving on to Audrey’s request to “please bring Paul McCartney back to LAMBEAU, it was the best concert ever. Please please please!” At the very least, don’t the team president and people in charge of the team website have some interest in concealing the fans’ true horrible nature? But a read through the MT5 archives shows accepting rude and incoherent fan questions—and posting them on the website for all to see—is something like a staple of Murphy’s column:

A question from Mike

What the f… are you and your sidekick doing? Not going after an established WR? You deserve to not win a Super Bowl. Got rid of the WR corps. You screwed Rodgers with his weapons. After being a Packer fan since 1965, it’s a slap in the face. All Packer fans that bought stock and supported this team for all those years and you won’t spend the money to either keep or get elite players. I hope you’re fired soon.

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Mike. The decision to trade Davante Adams was extremely difficult. He is not only a great player, but also a tremendous person who has done so much for the organization both on and off the field over the years. It was clear to us that he didn’t want to play on the franchise tag and that he wanted to play in Las Vegas to be closer to home. Ultimately, I think we created a situation that was good for Davante and the organization. I know you are concerned about our wide receiver position, but we have almost six months left before we play our first game. With four picks in the first two rounds, we have the draft capital to either trade for a veteran receiver or draft a top-quality receiver(s). I’m confident that our wide receiver room will look very different in September than it does now.

If only in his exceedingly polite “per my last email” style, Murphy does punch back when he wants to:

A question from Sam, The Real Big Packer Fan

Hey Murphy, why don’t you ever answer me? I think I know the answer to that, you’re a joke you know I’m right. The offense is starting to look good but this defensive unit once again stinks and why? Because every year you pass up really good defensive linemen and inside linebackers in the first round in the draft. Gary was the only player you picked, he’s a decent player but there were plenty of better players still on the board. Two years ago I was excited when I saw you guys moved up in the draft, I was thinking we’re going to get one of the best LBs still on the board, but what did you do? You drafted Love as you can tell we don’t need a QB yet you ass…! Well because of you and Gutekunst our offense is going to have to carry this team once again, pitiful!

Because you never ask questions, Sam. MT5 is based on answering five questions from fans, not responding to five complaints about our team. Thanks for understanding.

He can excuse Marilyn’s racism, but he draws the line at not following the MT5 submission guidelines. This is for fan questions, people! Check out Murphy’s heated response to Duane, a serial “more of a comment than a question” guy, by the sounds of it:

A question from Duane

Murphy! Get that jerk Gutekunst to get off his butt and make a play to get Julio Jones on the Packers!

Thanks for the email, Duane. Thanks as well for the 20 previous emails you’ve sent MT5 in recent months. Interestingly, there is not a single question among the 20 emails. While I appreciate your persistence and passion, I must tell you that I have tremendous confidence in Brian Gutekunst. In his relatively short tenure as our GM, he has completely turned around the fortunes of our team. He has put together a talented team (last year we had the most players voted to the Pro Bowl) that has a 28-8 record over the last two years, after consecutive losing seasons in 2017 and 2018, and has played in back-to-back NFC Championship games. Moreover, he has a great working relationship with Head Coach Matt LaFleur. He and EVP/director of football operations Russ Ball have managed our salary cap smartly and have us well positioned for the future.

This is great. More teams should do it. Every executive boasts about having the best fans in the world, and if they truly mean that, it seems only right that they spend an hour reading and replying to these emails. I suspect by the end, most would be on the phones making the worst trades possible, just to stick it to the fans. “This defensive unit stinks, Sam? Does it? Well, how about THIS defensive unit??” Please. Give me Pat Riley appreciating your feedback. Give me Lou Lamoriello sharing your concerns.

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