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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Run out of Brats at a Packer Game? Packer President Mark Murphy Responds!

http://michaelpking.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html

Green Bay Packer president Mark Murphy
Nice column thanks to and written by Mike Woods of the Green Bay Press Gazette. Link to their site follows,

The man in the gray sweatshirt with the red letters spelling out COLGATE stepped up and stuck out his hand. Dan Cattau said he recognized me from my picture in the paper (this would be known as an occupational hazard) and wanted to know how well I knew Mark Murphy.
“Know Mark Murphy?” I said, referring to the president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers. “I’ve interviewed him a couple of times, but I don’t really know him. I’m not sure anyone really knows him that well.”
Cattau, a former sports writer for the Dallas Morning News and journalism teacher at Indiana and Illinois, said he knew Murphy a little bit, enough to ask him for an occasional favor. Like Murphy, he went to Colgate, and noted Murphy gave the speech at his alma mater’s 191st commencement a couple of weeks back.
“You should check it out,” he told me. “Pretty revealing.”
So I did.
I learned that, like a lot of successful men, Mark Murphy leans heavily on his wife.
“I was a junior and (Laurie) was a sophomore and we had never met,” Murphy said. “We shared a ride to Florida for spring break, and we’ve been together ever since. She’s been a great partner over the years. I’ve learned so much from her. You will face many challenges in your life and you are so much better off if you have a true partner to help you face those challenges. In my position, people often tell me what they think I want to hear. Laurie tells me what I need to hear. She’s the most compassionate and caring person that I know.”
Like a lot of successful men, Mark Murphy learned some valuable, lifelong lessons from his father. Hugh Murphy had a difficult life growing up in Rochester, N.Y. At 17, he left high school to join the Army, served in WWII and earned a Purple Heart. After the war, he returned to earn his high school and college degrees and went on to a long career in labor relations.
“My favorite memories of my father are walking through the steel plant in Buffalo with him,” Murphy said. “Every person in the plant seemed to know him.”
After the Packers hired Murphy, he wanted very much for his father to experience a place he had never been, Lambeau Field. Plans were put in place, but they never came to fruition.

“In January of 2008, when I started with the Packers, we had two home playoff games and I talked with my father about coming up for one of the games,” Murphy said. “We eventually decided that it was too hard to work out all the details and determined that he could come up for a game in the fall of 2008. Yet, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer in March and died in July. I would encourage you today to not let details get in the way, and to take advantage of your opportunities to spend special time with your family and friends.”
Murphy referred to his father as “Murph” and talked about what his dad referred to as his “pearls of wisdom.” He passed those on to his son, who admits to first rolling his eyes when Murph would share his insight, only to realize years later he had actually listened and was putting those pearls to good use.
“His first pearl was: Don’t burn bridges: Build them,” Murphy said. .
“I’ve found that a key in life is how you treat people. Treating people well is the right thing to do and it’s actually also really good for your career and life. Everything’s connected.”
He talked about his role in collective bargaining with the NFL, first as a player rep for the Washington Redskins and later as a vice president of the NFL Players Association. The 1980s were contentious times, labor unrest was prevalent and two strikes were the result. He talked about how the late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke called him a communist. He also talked about working with Paul Tagliabue, a Redskins season ticket holder who was also a young attorney for the NFL at the time who would later go on to become NFL commissioner.
“Although we were on opposite sides of the table, we worked hard at understanding each other’s viewpoint and developed a friendship,” Murphy said. “Years later, when he became commissioner of the NFL, he asked me to serve on two NFL committees. I’m certain that I wouldn’t be in my position today without Paul’s support over the years. So by not burning bridges, but building them, twenty years after I left the NFLPA, I came full circle and served on the owners’ bargaining committee.”

Murph’s second pearl was: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
“Don’t get furious when you get a speeding ticket, don’t be annoyed if your phone has no reception and don’t cry if you wait all day for the new ‘Glee’ episode and it turns out to be a rerun,” Murphy said. “Yeah. I’m a Gleek.”
That pearl, however, came in most handy when the Brett Favre retirement/unretirement exploded in his lap.
“I have a letter I received to give you a sense of what it was like then,” Murphy said. “This letter came from a shareholder, James from Milwaukee. He writes, ‘You, sir, are a complete and total idiot. Only an idiot would trade Brett Favre, the greatest quarterback in the history of the Packers and a MVP finalist last year. I will never again cheer for the Packers because of you.’
“It felt like a huge deal to me. There was nonstop national media attention and thousands of letters like that from fans. And though it was very difficult, I tried to keep my perspective. I kept thinking to myself: we let players go all the time. Favre is 39 years old. Five years from now he’ll be gone one way or the other, so just get through this and don’t let the media make it a bigger issue than it really is.
“So, when you are faced with a difficult decision, try to break it down to the basics and picture yourself a few years into the future. And if you ever have to cut a legendary quarterback, it really helps to have Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings.”
Murph’s third pearl was: The harder you work, the luckier you get.
“This one is one you’ve heard a lot, but it’s true,” Murphy said. “I believe you have to be willing to stay humble and work on any task, no matter how small, that will help achieve your goals.”
Murphy talked about the Packers’ latest stock sale and how he now has to answer to more than 400,000 bosses. He heard from one back in January. Take it away Patrick, from California.
“(He) starts out his letter by referring to himself as a new owner,” Murphy said. “He continues, … ‘I’ve been to Lambeau Field three times in the last four years. On Dec. 5 of this year, I did have some issues come up that I wasn’t very happy with, and thought that I would let you know. The concession stand outside of Section 123 ran out of bratwursts in the third quarter. How can they be out of brats at a Green Bay Packer game in Wisconsin?’ He then concluded with true Wisconsin-bred politeness, ‘and in closing, I look forward to working with you.’
“So after we finished laughing, we worked really hard to make sure that we never ran out of brats again.”
Murphy wished Murph’s pearls would be helpful to the graduating class in their future endeavors. Then he wrapped it up with this:
“If you build bridges, keep your perspective and work hard, you will have a great journey and will be amazed what you will be able to do in your career and life,” Murphy said. “And you will be ready for the twists and turns you encounter along the way. When I graduated from Colgate 35 years ago, I could never have imagined that one day I would be standing here like this.”
And with that, Murphy reached down and put on a Wisconsin cheesehead, complete with tassel.
So now you have a little better idea who Mark Murphy is, where he came from and how he leads his life, thanks to the man in the gray COLGATE sweatshirt.

http://packersnews.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20120617/GPG0101/306180032/Packers-Murphy-passes-father-s-lessons?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

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