Bully for the bully beaters

Take a seat in the back, enablers. Bob McGinn is watching.

If you are a fan of stories by courageous writers that stick up for colleagues under fire and take down bullying behavior, I have an article I’d like to recommend to you.

You should read the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn’s Oct. 31, 2015 article, “Packers not above the fray of win-at-all-costs mentality.”

In this detailed analysis of a handful of questionable personnel decisions the Green Bay Packers have recently made, a number of character flaws are pointed out. The flaws belong not only to a small number of troublesome players, Colt Lyerla, Letroy Guion, Johnny Jolly and Andrew Quarless, some of which are still in the Packers’ employ, but to members of the Packers’ leadership.

That there are bad dudes in the National Football League is not a surprise. That teams sometimes compromise their values to enable problematic personalities for the betterment of their own win/loss record is also not news.

What is news here are the revelations of how the Packers, despite their well-earned reputation as a successful and principled organization, will not avoid players with violent criminal pasts. In addition, the Packers are depicted by McGinn as capable of circling the wagons to protect their own, even if it includes possible intimidation of a young reporter (read what Rob Davis did) or the public disparagement of, as McGinn describes it, an “impeccably reported, balanced account” by head coach Mike McCarthy.

This is the article to which he is referring:

McCarthy called the report, “garbage.” I encourage you to read this article as well and judge for yourself. Some have taken issue with the Guion article because it purportedly offered little that was new information. To some, that may be true, but to most of the NFL public — and, apparently, those at 1265 Lombardi Ave. and the NFL — the full scope of Guion’s criminal past is, indeed, new information.

I am a lifelong Packers fan. I knew of Guion’s arrest earlier this year and read eagerly of how his future and the Packers’ possible future with him may be compromised. As it turns out, the Packers welcomed Guion back with open arms. McGinn questions the veracity of that decision. As do I.

ESPN Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky, a writer I’ve enjoyed and admired for many years, joined in the piling on of Michael Cohen and John Diedrich’s Guion article. In a recent stint on the Cheesehead TV podcast, Demovsky was asked to comment on the Guion report. Demovsky is a former reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and remains a colleague of Cohen, Diedrich and McGinn, although he works for a competing organization.

Regarding the Guion article, Demovsky claimed that he doesn’t like to comment on someone else’s work … and then proceeded to do just that, snarkily decrying that the article didn’t provide much new information and that he had already covered this information in his own reporting during the summer. Demovsky also admitted that before July, he was not aware of the full depth of Guion’s criminal (drugs, firearms, domestic violence) past.

This is the crux of the matter. Apparently, very few people were aware of Guion’s troubled recent history, except for possibly the Minnesota Vikings, his previous employer. Several reporters now have noted they did not know of Guion’s full history until around July of this year. It appears neither the Packers nor the NFL were fully aware. The Packers first hired Guion in the offseason preceding the 2014 season. I certainly wasn’t aware, and I remain a devoted, long-time follower of Packers news.

I found the Guion report enlightening. And troubling. I don’t doubt the facts, as Cohen and Diedrich reported them. I have too much respect for professional journalists to doubt them given the way the information was presented and how it was published.

Clearly, the Packers are bothered by unflattering reporting:

On one hand, it is admirable that the Packers want to come to the defense of one of their own. On the other, go to hell, shitheads. You’re in business with some bad dudes. As NFL followers, we accept that this is sometimes the case. It’s punk bullshit to engage in bullying behavior and to blithely dismiss someone’s reporting. The truth will emerge.

It’s fair to also point out that the Packers are far from the only organization that has done business with bad dudes:

The late, great Bill Walsh once said, (paraphrasing) the problem with hiring only good, nice men is that you end up with a football team that looks really nice chasing the other team’s players across the goal line. He’s right, of course. Football is not generally for the emotionally well-balanced. We applaud a certain level of psychopathic behavior between the lines, so we’re not without blame.

I will continue to root for the Packers. I continue to admire the decision-makers in the organization. I hope they all do well. I also hope they conduct themselves with class. I am disappointed, but remain an interested admirer.

McGinn took what appears to be a well-deserved shot. He came to the defense of not only his colleagues, but the larger profession of professional reporting. Bully for you, Bob. The Packers have some egg on their faces. Now revealed, it’s time to move forward in a better way.

© Julian Rogers | Follow on Twitter (@thejujueye) | Read The Hit Job

More from Julian Rogers:

If you enjoyed this article, please give the heart / recommend button a pop so that more people may see this content … and benefit from your good taste.