Brett Favre has received doe eyes from the media since, well, since he became culturally relevant after taking over as Green Bay’s starting quarterback nearly two decades ago. In the process, handfuls of NFL reporters and talking heads had to get close to his agent, Bus Cook, to find out what Favre was thinking, and get inside enough to report on it. Now, they have to get through Cook to understand what in God’s name is going on with Jay Cutler, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that while Cook is one of the bus drivers pushing the entire Cutler-Denver controversy, he’s not getting any criticism from ESPN because the network so desperately wants to hire his other, more famous client as an NFL analyst.
(The real reason for Bus Cook’s sudden deification is standing just to the right of him. Here’s a hint about who he is: He’s really famous and wearing a white t-shirt.)
The theory was first postulated this morning by PROFOOTBALLTALK writer Mike Florio, and we think he’s really on to something. After all, if you believe FOX SPORTS’s John Czarnecki, Cook was already asking Denver to trade Cutler, before the Broncos even started tossing his name out to the wolves of the NFL market. Instead of telling the truth about what’s really happening behind the scenes — that Cook is helping Cutler agitate for a trade — ESPN is deifying him as the most upright of all agents, hoping to make inroads into landing Favre for the network’s analyst chair.
Need proof? Check out this entry from ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton:
“Cook, Jay Cutler’s agent, has done nothing in the Cutler mess other than offer his support,” Clayton wrote. “People may be getting a wrong perception of Cook. He’s not a Scott Boras. He’s not trying to play hardball. The Favre problem was between Favre and his bosses. Cook just had to do the dirty work. In the Cutler affair, he just has to sit back and watch and be with his client in all meetings. The problem is between Cutler and his coach.”
Not only does that quote basically kiss Cook’s butt and call him the most responsible of all agents, it contrasts him with Scott Boras, which is just about the highest compliment you could pay an agent if you’re trying to proove that he has the best intentions for his clients.
Of course, that’s the not the case, but that doesn’t matter right now to ESPN. This is a bottom line decision aimed at landing Brett Favre, at all costs. When you think about it, that bottom line makes sense, too. Favre is a national name who will be relevant to the entire country. Cutler is a national story while he’s a controversy, then he becomes a big story in two markets: Denver and wherever he lands.
Naturally, just because the decision makes sense from an economic standpoint doesn’t make it ethical. But this is ESPN. Does slacking on journalistic standards and ethics in the chase of the almighty Bristol buck really surprise anyone?
Didn’t think so.