Barnett put his downtown nightclub, FiveSix Ultra Lounge, up for sale on Sept. 1 for $1,18 million, about a year after he opened it with longtime friend Shamon Jamerson. He recently reduced the price to $848,888. In early June, the middle linebacker landed in a political whirlwind after the Green Bay City Council denied his renewal for a liquor license. Council members cited numerous police calls and complaints from neighbors regarding late-night activities at the club, including at least 15 fights.
Barnett, who is black, subsequently spoke out on what he felt was unfair treatment by the city and said the denial of the license renewal smacked of racist overtones.
"I'm not saying the whole city is racist; that's not what I'm saying. But, we do get stereotyped here," Barnett told the Wisconsin State Journal in a June 21 article. "Like, when (the members of the council) were watching the video of my club. They looked at the way people were dressed and said, 'How do you get that element in your club?' 'Well, what do you mean by element? Just because they're black? Is that the element you're talking about?'"
At about the same time, another Green Bay downtown establishment – Hip Cats - that had a litany of problems was absolved June 26 by a city committee, which recommended that the club's liquor license be renewed.
On June 29, in what's perceived as damage control on the city's part, Mayor Jim Schmitt called for the city council to rescind the earlier decision about Barnett's liquor license.
"It's making the city look stupid," Chad Fradette, president of the city council, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Barnett said today that FiveSix is for sale because he received interest in potential buyers during the fall of 2005, and not because of the tussle a few months ago between himself and the city.
"Not necessarily," Barnett said. "Yeah, there were problems. At that point, I was a little frustrated with it. It's just at this point in my life and my career, as far as both things go, I think it's best to put it on the market, and test the market. There's been interest expressed in buying it, so why not put it out there for sale?"
Coach Mike McCarthy applauded Barnett's decision to sell his nightclub.
"I grew up in that business," McCarthy said, recalling 'Joe McCarthy's Bar and Grill' that was owned by his parents in Pittsburgh. "I've never been in his place (FiveSix). Our place wasn't a nightclub, but that's a challenge. Timing and when you do things like that are important. ... I think it's a good move. I don't know the details, but I know that's a hard business to be a professional athlete and have a commitment to a job and what they're asked to do on a daily basis and yearly basis, it's hard to do. I think it's a good thing he's getting out of the business."
As far as his football career, Barnett says that he would "love to finish my career where I started it."
However, the Packers selected linebacker Abdul Hodge in the third round of the recent NFL draft. Hodge is strictly a middle linebacker and was impressive in the preseason. Barnett has done nothing to hurt his status as the starter, leading the team in tackles through five games with 46. But as the Packers continue to cultivate their roster, it certainly appears that Barnett will not be long for Green Bay, especially since he has said repeatedly that he does not want to play an outside position because it would affect his numbers for when it comes time to renegotiate a new contract.
"I would like to believe they (the Packers) want me here, but you never know," he said.