You would have to live under a rock and speak Sanskrit exclusively to not be aware of the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger drama that has been swirling around the Vikings’ starting QB since August of this year like a pesky tumbleweed buffeted about in the Dust Bowl during the longest drought of the 20th century.
I have studiously avoided making any comments about this situation until now, because I believe in the archaic legal concept of innocent until proven guilty. I also find little humor in the situation due to the impact to Deanna Favre and their daughters.
Today the NFL released a statement and fined Favre $50,000 – not for his alleged actions in 2008, but rather for his perceived lack of cooperation in the investigation. Let’s take a look at parts of the NFL’s statement.
Point 1: “On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct.”
- This could mean one of several things. A) Based on the evidence, there was a reciprocal interest between the parties, negating the premise of harassment. B) The forensic investigation into the evidence provided could not tie together a pattern that Sterger and her lawyer insisted was there. Or C) The NFL policies in place today do not cover the type of conduct posited by the Sterger camp.
Point 2: “Commissioner Goodell also determined that Favre was not candid in several respects during the investigation, resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger, and the NFL.”
- This is an interesting statement. Anyone who’s ever dealt with a lawyer knows that you answer exactly what is being asked of you and you do not elaborate. I only know this because I’m studying for the LSAT, by the way. Favre surely sought counsel during this matter and therefore would have been told to be very specific and limited in his responses. Many pundits have interpreted this statement to mean that Favre lied. I don’t see it that way. I think he was following his lawyer’s advice.
Point 3: “The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger.”
- Given what we’ve been told about the rigorous forensic investigation, I believe this is the key reason Favre was not punished for his alleged actions in 2008.
Point 4: “Our new training program on workplace conduct will help all of us to promote the right kind of environment for all employees and I intend to dedicate the fine I have imposed on Favre to help fund that training program.”
- Let’s just hope that Goodell finds a name for the training program that doesn’t reference this whole episode in any way.
Let me end this, my only commentary on this issue, like this. I heard the voicemails that Favre has admitted to leaving. They indeed sounded like him. Personally, if I were married, I wouldn’t be reaching out to anyone with voicemails asking them to my hotel. I don’t judge Favre for this though because I’ve felt that since the media storm started, this is a personal matter, not a public matter. I felt that way because I thought it was fairly obvious that Sterger was seeking a cash payment for behavior that she did nothing to discourage, ergo removing the specter of workplace harassment and raising the probability of extortion.
I feel badly for Deanna and the children she & Brett have together. I follow Brittany on Twitter and know that she’s been subjected to some pretty horrendous verbal assaults during the last 5 months. Neither the daughters nor the wife deserve any further public humiliation. My hope is that now that the NFL has rendered a decision, we can stop hearing about this situation and that the Favre family can deal with the impacts of it privately and without public voyeurism.