Joe Montana: Tarnished hero

By Allen Barra

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The recent article about Joe Montana’s “unethical” failure to support the NFL Player’s Union strike missed an important point:

When groups of millionaires use collective bargaining as a tool for securing even more astronomical salaries, it hurts the image of labor unions everywhere. I would not stand in the way of anyone’s prerogative to strike, but it is dangerous to blur the line between wealthy sports figures and the common men for whom unions are truly needed. If I had been an NFL player at the time of the strike, I may also have resisted the union, if only to acknowledge the incredible privilege fate had already gifted me.

– Michael Middleton

During the strike, Boomer Esiason, who had just signed a huge contract, joined the striking players and went so far as to lay down in front of the bus bringing the replacement players to a game. No wonder the other players played a little harder when Boomer was in the game.

– Fred Hoefle

It’s so ridiculous that we look at sports heroes as ethical or moral heroes, and then are disappointed in THEM for our own silly misplaced hero-worship.



I happen to feel that Montana’s decisions about the player’s strike were his to make, and that many good people on both sides of the strike let us down. But I don’t blame him anymore than I would blame any NFL player. Let’s celebrate Montana’s REAL gifts: talent galore and a small-town background that gave him the drive to succeed. Let’s leave the other stuff out of the discussion.

And anyone who thinks Joe Montana (or any worker, for that matter) owes blind allegiance to a union is sadly mistaken.

– John Beatty

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