More cheers than jeers greet Murphy, Thompson

The shareholders meeting did not turn into a pro-Favre rally, though. The GM even received a standing ovation from some fans inside Lambeau Field on Thursday.

Thursday morning's Green Bay Packers shareholders meeting did not turn into a pro-Brett Favre rally, which had to be a relief for the team's executives.

About 13,000 fans and shareholders filed into Lambeau Field on a glorious sunny morning. After airing the team's highlight film — which featured a heavy dose of No. 4 setting records and winning games — It took only about 2 minutes for Packers President Mark Murphy to bring up the topic that has gripped football fans from sea to shining sea.

"Obviously, it's a very sensitive situation that will have long-term ramifications on this organization," Murphy said.

While Murphy has steadfastly said the choice to move forward without the retired-for-now quarterback was a "football decision," he said he has been "actively involved" in the drama and in keeping the team's Executive Committee abreast of developments.

"We're all in unison and very supportive of the way Ted (Thompson) and Mike (McCarthy) have handled this delicate situation," Murphy said, with his comments followed by 13 seconds of boos and cheers.

"Brett has meant so much to the Packers and the NFL," Murphy continued, "and will always be remembered as one of the finest players who've played this game."

Noting the mixed reaction, Murphy said, "We applaud your passion and your love and your support of the Packers."

After Murphy's presentation, Thompson went through the Packers' roster. He was greeted mostly by cheers — even getting a standing ovation from some fans.

"We are a family here," Thompson said in regard to the Favre controversy. "Families sometimes disagree, but they remain family."

"This has been a difficult time for all of us," he continued. "For everybody who cares about the Green Bay Packers. This is a very complicated matter that we will continue to work through. Through it all, we're guided by the overriding goal of doing what's right. What's right for this organization and what's right for this team."

When he returned to his seat, Thompson was saluted mostly by cheers, with more fans giving him a standing ovation.

After the meeting, fans gathered inside the atrium to mingle with each other as well as Murphy and Thompson. As Murphy signed autographs, several fans about 10 feet away began chanting, "Bring Brett back!" The chant did not catch on, though, and fizzled a couple minutes later.

Later, in the fourth floor of the atrium, Thompson emerged from his office to sign autographs. Inevitably, a fan asked Thompson about Favre, with the general manager replying, "We're just going to do this (sign autographs) today."

One female fan yelled that Favre "deserved more respect than he got." Her comment, however, was struck down with a few boos.

The polite questioning of Thompson continued, with Thompson even shaking the hand of one fan wearing a T-shirt reading, "I'd Rather Have Favre Than Thompson."

"I just think they're tarnishing the history and the legacy of the club, and not even for the betterment of the current year," said the T-shirt wearing fan, Jeff Walsh of Racine. "It makes no sense to me at all. I just want to voice (my opinion), in a nice way, get my vote out there."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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