Saturday, May 09, 2009

An Allegory

A construction foreman is making plans to build a new house and he learns that one of his best workers will not be available for the job. The foreman is disappointed, since the guy is a really good mason, but he understands. He proceeds to fill out his crew and commences work on the house.

But just as he's getting started, his former employee comes into his office and wants his old job back. He's changed his mind and wants the work.

What is the foreman supposed to do? Should he fire one of his new hires? That doesn't seem right since it would it deprive the new guys of their jobs--jobs they pursued when the foreman was filling out his crew. Moreover, the request puts the foreman in a tough spot because he's invested resources in training a new workforce and has tailored his plans to their particular strengths and experience. He's purchased new equipment and spent a lot of time drawing up his plans. So the foreman tells the guy sorry, but no.

Spurned and upset, the mason looks for work elsewhere. Indeed, he has a lead on a job with the zoning commission that would allow him to tie up the construction project in hearings and paperwork for years, effectively killing the work the foreman is trying to complete. There is nothing really wrong with the project--the foreman has gone through all the proper channels and the public very much supports it--but local governments being what they are, the mason's new role would still enable him to stall the project.

What is the foreman supposed to do now? Maybe there's nothing that he can do--people are free to work wherever they want, right? But suppose the foreman knows of something he could tell the zoning commission that would keep the mason from getting the job. Could you really blame him for doing so?

Attentive readers will no doubt have gotten the point of all this by now. The foreman in this story is Green Bay Packers' GM Ted Thompson and the mason is Brett Favre.

Favre apparently wants to come back and play for the Vikings so that he can stick it to Thompson. But it is entirely unclear to me what Thompson did that merits having it stuck to him (or whatever). Favre may just not like Thompson and he may be upset at not having his every whim indulged. That's fine. He doesn't have to like him. And since there is now nothing that Thompson can do to prevent Favre from deliberately trying to "wreck his house," Favre is free to do that too. But what he can't do, it seems to me, is try to claim the moral high ground.

24 comments:

abby said...

Well put. I don't think, or maybe I just hope, that it doesn't come down simply to Favre not having his every whim indulged. I don't think situations like this are ever as simple as they seem to those on the outside. We don't know what transpired between Thompson and Favre or within the Packers organization and whether or not it merits the ire Favre clearly feels toward Thompson. Perhaps both sides have legitimate, well founded reasons for their opinions. However, that doesn't mean Favre is on the moral high ground here, since declaring you want to "stick it to" someone is not generally located on the high ground.

And by they way, thank you for being capable of having a reasonable discussion of this topic. If only the people who took time to post comments on news stories chose to be so reasonable.

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