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Packers launch Tailgate Tour despite lockout

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Associated Press
May 11, 2011
— With the NFL lockout in full swing, three Green Bay Packers players and the team’s president will spend the next five days sharing a bus that will cover more than 700 miles as it crisscrosses Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Did somebody say awkward?


Guard Josh Sitton, linebacker Desmond Bishop and backup quarterback Matt Flynn are traveling in close quarters with president and CEO Mark Murphy on the team’s sixth annual Tailgate Tour, which left from Lambeau Field on Tuesday morning. All four insisted that the ride won’t be a bumpy one because of the labor strife and court fight battle between team owners and the players.


“I don’t think it will be awkward at all,” said Murphy, who was a union representative as a player with the Washington Redskins and is now a member of the owners’ negotiating committee. “I miss the players, and to spend some time with them will be great. I’m sure we’ll have some discussions about the current labor situation, but I think everybody realizes it’s kind of above us all.”


The lockout has been in place since March 11 except for some confusing days when it was lifted by a federal judge in a decision that has since been put on hold.


“I’m going to interact with the players. We’ll have a good, open discussion,” Murphy said. “Obviously with my background having been a player, having worked for the union and been a player rep, I can talk a lot about the issues.”


Coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson saw the bus off. While coaches and front-office staff are banned from having contact with players, there is an exception for charitable events such as the tour.


The group planned its initial stop for Marquette, Mich., on Tuesday followed by visits to Ashland today, Eau Claire on Thursday and Wausau on Friday—before returning to Green Bay on Saturday. Community events are planned at each stop.


“It’s not going to be weird,” Flynn said. “This week is for the right reasons and a good cause. That’s why we came up here.”



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