Shareholders tell Packers GM to hold the line

Updated: July 27, 2005, 5:24 PM ET
Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers shareholders had a message for the team's top brass at their annual meeting Wednesday: Don't give any of that record revenue to Javon Walker.

At least a dozen shareholders told general manager Ted Thompson to hold the line on the wide receiver, who plans to stay away from training camp because the Packers are refusing to renegotiate his contract.

Not one of them told Thompson to give in to Walker's demands for a hefty pay raise from the $515,000 he's scheduled to make this season. And team president Bob Harlan, who greeted stockholders after the packed meeting, said he got the same one-sided advice.

Thompson said he wasn't surprised by the fans' passionate pleas.

"Well, like I'm a big baseball fan, a Houston Astros fan, and it was rumored all of sudden the Astros might consider trading Roger Clemens. And I'm upset. And I'm in another business, but I'm upset," Thompson said. "If I'd have been in front of the people making those decisions, I'd have said, 'Please don't trade Roger Clemens.'

"I think passion is a good thing."

After the meeting, Thompson and Harlan were peppered with questions from fans, many of whom were fuming over Walker's demands for a trade or a new deal while he still has two years remaining on the five-year contract he signed in 2002.

Thompson said he appreciated the support but politely stood up for Walker on a couple of occasions.

"Things like this happen in professional sports. It's just the nature of the business," Thompson said. "It doesn't mean he's a bad person. He's a good kid. We hope he's here for a long time."

At which point, another fan said, "Yeah, don't trade him. But don't pay him!"

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press