January 03, 2011
One week after receiving a $50,000 fine relating to a lewd text message allegedly sent to a New York Jets employee, Brett Favre(notes) has been sued by two former team employees for sexual harassment. Both Favre and the Jets are named in the suit.
Favre is said to have treated the therapists as "hanging slabs of meat," while the Jets cultivated "a hotbed of sexual harassment, sexism and inappropriate behavior." The women are seeking unspecified damages.
The lawsuit was brought by Christina Scavo and Shannon O'Toole, former massage therapists who worked for the Jets in 2008. Scavo and O'Toole first came forward (privately) after the lewd photo Favre allegedly sent Sterger was shown on Deadspin.com last October.
After reading the story about the incident in the New York Post, the women came forward to both publications but declined to give their names. At the time, they alleged that Favre asked O'Toole for her phone number (a practice which is common for professional purposes). In a text message sent one evening, Favre quickly made it apparent that he was after more than a massage. "Kinda lonely tonight," he wrote, "I guess I have bad intentions." He is said to have invited both women back to his hotel room, but they declined.
Upon learning of the inappropriate advances by Favre, Scavo's husband called him and demanded an apology. The quarterback is said to have refused. The women say they were then reprimanded by Lisa Ripi, a personal trainer who worked for the Jets. Ripi, who is named in the suit, told the women to keep the incident internal and not contact the press.
Rex Ryan's Jets were under fire early in the 2010 season for inappropriate behavior toward a Mexican television reporter. Though Ryan wasn't with the team in 2008, when the incidents with the massage therapists allegedly took place, this stands as another black mark for the organization. It also further sullies the name of Favre, whose ride off into the NFL sunset has been rockier than he could have ever imagined.
Update: On Tuesday, the Jets issued a statement about the lawsuit:
"Unfortunately, the plaintiffs never reported the allegations to the Jets, either during or after the conclusion of their work. The case against the Jets is completely without merit, and we look forward to defending the matter in court, where we are confident that the Jets will prevail."
That's a confident statement to be making in the wake of a messy lawsuit.
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