Editors note: This draft was written on Christmas Eve 2013. A house full of sick kids and adults and other circumstances has delayed its posting. The original title, Makin Me a Believer, still holds true. In the end though it came down to dollars, always the dollars, for both parties. A&E awoke from their coma of stupid and “ended” the suspension of Phil Robertson.
So aggrieved was Phil at the violation of his freedom of speech by the communist network A&E, when they asked him to come back Phil said “OK.” (not an exact quote) And don’t think for a second A&E came to him empty handed. College football coaches get millions in contract extensions just for thinking about a job opening at another school. Networks were probably lining up to get Duck Dynasty on their air when A&E stupidly cow-towed to an interest group that doesn’t even watch the show. In reality (jokes are free), reality stars don’t make a ton on their bottom line, per episode, contract. It’s all the after market stuff that nets them the serious dough. But I’m guessing A&E paid a few shekels to keep the Duck guys on their network. And why shouldn’t they. Stupid has consequences.
As you read the original post you’ll see I talk about Phil not being in it for the money. I still think that’s true. His motivation is different now compared to when he turned down potential for millions in the NFL in ’68’. He has kids, he has grandchildren now. None of that was true when he made Terry Bradshaw a star. So I still believe Phil, at 67 years old, isn’t motivated by money for himself, but for adding to the security of his family. Who the hell can argue with that.
To his credit, and the thrust of the original post below, Phil has not apologized for his beliefs. And he should not. I don’t agree with them, but so what. If you have to run around apologizing for your beliefs every time you give an interview then guess what my friend, you don’t have beliefs, you have brand building sound bites. And the free market will take care of that one way or the other; a lesson A&E and Cracker Barrel learned the hardest way possible.
So here is the original post. Enjoy.
Makin Me a Believer.
Man we are really wringing the juice out of this peel.
No matter, it’s good stuff. And that damn Phil, he’ll grow on ya. I had absolutely no care in the world over what happened to him. I have never watched the show, had no desire to watch it. I can’t stand Cracker Barrel. I knew his 1st amendment rights weren’t violated and his free speech really wasn’t.
How do I know that? He’s still speaking publicly and saying what he said before. No one has barred him from speaking, ever. No one has stopped him from thinking and believing what he thought and believed before. All A&E did, besides shoot their own foot off, was tell him you can’t say that on our network. That’s it. No rights, real or imagined, violated.
Plus A&E may have said that, but they aren’t doing that. My guess is you won’t see one episode of Duck Dynasty without Phil in it on A&E or elsewhere. All they really did was make Phil a free agent. Has to be a few networks lining up to get the highest rated non-fiction show on cable, ever. That includes news networks like Fox, CNN and MSNBC. Although the podcast Tony and I do rates on par with MSNBC. We’re coming for you Blitzer!
More to the point, it has been interesting to watch how Phil handled himself this past week. All he did was prove why he has such a fan base. Look, you don’t have to agree with what he said, but you can’t tell me you’re not impressed that he has not offered up an apology or cowered to some special interest group. He has stuck to his statements, not run from them. He has proven, in my mind at least, that this was not a ratings boost to sell more Duck Commander merchandise at Christmas. The guy actually believes these things.
True believers are easy to spot these days. What do they do when the heat goes all the way up? They don’t apologize for thinking what they think and saying what they believe.
Politicians turn and run the minute what they say will cost them a big enough block of votes it might lose them their job in the government. Actors and athletes and famous people all back down when it hits them in the wallet or the ratings or some executives or agents tell them to apologize. Phil didn’t do any of that. He’s not controlled or influenced by any of that. Look at his history.
Phil Robertson was the starting QB at Louisiana Tech. Terry Bradshaw was his backup. Phil was going probable #1 in the draft that year, 1968. Not the millions we see today but in adjusted money it was great living. Phil walked away from it. He wanted to hunt and fish instead, and the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Terry Bradshaw 2 years later and went on to win 4 super bowls.
Money has no influence over this guy. He has a lot of it now, but he had none coming out of college and he walked away from a boat load of it by 1960’s standards. His contract would have been in the 60,000 range. To put that in some perspective, NFL veterans were making 35,000. Rookies as Phil would have been made no more than 9,000. Only Joe Namath made 6 figures then, playing for the Jets in the AFL. Wayne Gretzky signed an NHL contract for 1.2 million in 1989, some 20 years after Phil walked away from football. That wasn’t even Gretzky’s first contract. That was the money he got from the LA Kings to leave Edmonton. He was already The Great One in ’89’.
When Paul Harvey confronted Robertson with a recruitment to play professionally for the Washington Redskins, he declined because football conflicted with his hunting. Besides, football was only about holding up his scholarship to him, while Bradshaw practically lived and breathed the sport. Robertson put it in this way: “Terry went for the bucks, and I chased after the ducks.”
Phil just spoke publicly for the first time since the whole deal started. In his church, during Sunday school. The guy is true and faithful to his beliefs.
Disagree with him if you want, but don’t question Phil’s sincerity and honesty. I firmly believe he really wasn’t trying to hurt people, he just stated his beliefs when asked.
If you’re not impressed by this guy’s fortitude, you’re just lying to yourself. I’m a proponent of same sex marriage and I’m not ready to vote Phil for president, but I’m impressed by the guy.
The members of GLADD want Phil to sit down with same sex couples and homosexual members of his community so he can get a better understanding. Maybe GLADD should heed their own advice and sit down with Phil for a day or two.