December 29, 2010
Brett Favre(notes) is $50,000 poorer for not cooperating with the NFL in its investigation of inappropriate text messages and photos he allegedly sent to Jenn Sterger in 2008.
No suspension will accompany the fine, which is meager by NFL standards. As a result, there are those who will think that Favre is getting off easy. Agreeing with that sentiment, unsurprisingly, is Sterger's lawyer.
Here's part of a press release he sent out to the media Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk:
“My client and I are extremely disappointed, but not surprised, at today’s NFL announcement that Brett Favre did not violate the NFL ‘workplace conduct’ policy. While I am not privy to how Mr. Goodell reached such a finding, we strongly disagree with his conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to support a violation of the policy. To the contrary, our evidence and the personal testimony of Ms. Sterger clearly showed a pattern of lewd and offensive behavior by Mr. Favre that lasted all of the 2008 season.
“As noted in the NFL’s release, ‘there was no evidence to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.’ In addition to the offensive messages, there was ample evidence to show that the sexually explicit photographs were part of Favre’s inappropriate behavior. Our evidence clearly showed that the photos were sent by Favre.
“Furthermore, the fact that the League took the step of fining Favre for ‘not being candid in several respects during the investigation’ is disturbing in the message it sends. It clearly shows that an NFL star player was given preferential treatment and tells all other players that failure to cooperate may cost you some money but will not result in other punishment. Additionally, today’s decision is an affront to all females and shows once again that, despite tough talk, the NFL remains the good old boys’ league.”
It's not a huge surprise that he feels that way, and it's not difficult to see where he's coming from. The investigation took forever and ended with a whimper. The NFL skated out of making any kind of judgment on Favre's behavior at all, and instead hit him with a small fine for "not cooperating."
I'm not ready to go bananas on the NFL like the lawyer, but I would like more of an explanation from the league. I'd like to know why the investigation took so long, how they determined that Favre did or did not send the pictures, and how exactly he was uncooperative. We've been given no information on what they found, what they didn't find, or how they even went about it.
It seems unlikely that any such explanation is coming, though, which makes it hard not to believe that Favre is being protected by the league.
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