Let's see if I have this right: Married grandpa Brett Favre gets accused of sending obscene photos to a former female co-worker, is allowed to continue with his NFL-record consecutive games streak while the longest investigation since the 9/11 commission is conducted, then gets slapped on the wrist with a $50,000 fine after the league concluded that it can't prove sexual harassment but that he nevertheless was a very naughty boy. Is that about right?
Because if it is, there's nothing right about it. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell didn't have anything concrete on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger either, yet Goodell at least made it look like he was paying attention with the discipline he handed down.
Factored as a portion of Favre's yearly salary, a $50,000 fine is an outrage and an insult to women. But that's the message the NFL just sent.
NFL drops ball
Los Angeles Times
Fining a millionaire future Hall of Fame quarterback like Brett Favre $50,000 isn't much of a penalty. So why such a small punishment? The NFL said:
1. There was insufficient evidence to support a violation of the "conduct detrimental to the league policy." 2. The NFL could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct … and, oh yeah! … 3. He still will be fined, though, for "his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner," and 4. Because Favre "was not candid in several respects during the investigation."
So, in review, when accused of a wrongdoing in the NFL, keep your mouth shut, don't cooperate, and for heaven's sake "don't be candid" and everything will be OK. Shame on … who?
The best news to come out of the NFL's "disciplining" of Brett Favre is that the sad, sordid situation is over. Favre will leave the game with far less appeal than would have been the case had he made good on his original retirement three years ago.
Favre, being Favre, likely will play at least some of the Vikings' game this week to give his fans a farewell appearance. He should not have been allowed to take this extra bow. The league's decision to fine him $50,000 for "not cooperating" with its investigation into the lewd-texting incident may be the best Roger Goodell can legally do. Then again, it may not. Legal expert Roger Cossack has noted that in any other business, an employee refusing to cooperate in a sexual harassment investigation would be fired.
If the NFL has decided to let Favre slide because this is to be his last game, that's wrong. He should have been suspended.
The NFL could not prove that Brett Favre did anything that violated league policies regarding workplace conduct in the Jenn Sterger affair.
So a $50,000 fine for failure to cooperate with the league in a forthcoming manner seems to be plenty of punishment. The NFL has to judge players in these kinds of situations just the way a court of law would: that's innocent until proven guilty. Favre was not proved guilty.
Whether or not he was guilty could be debated, but it's not being debated anymore in the league offices.
Even though nothing came of it, the situation can serve as a lesson to other players. This much is certain: Everyone is probably very happy to see this ugly matter closed. Everyone, that is, except Jenn Sterger.