Thursday, December 30, 2010

NFL ruling on Favre the correct one

The NFL finally handed down its ruling on the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger saga, and it was the correct one: A $50,000 fine for Favre for “unnecessarily” extending the investigation by not being fully cooperative or “candid.” Despite the Favre-haters and Sterger’s lawyer complaints, the NFL went out of its way to find sufficient evidence against Favre to justify the investigation and penalize him for embarrassing the league. But in the end, it found nothing. The voicemails he admitted to, but these only rose to the level of “harassment” to the truly paranoid. The reality was that no one came forward to make a legitimate claim of sexual or workplace harassment; apparently this included the massage therapists whose contact information the New York Jets provided investigators. The league found that Favre had no questionable contact with Sterger within the workplace environment, only outside of it; thus it fell within the realm of a private matter between two private persons.

There are many in the media who tow the politically-correct line and insist that this was a case of “harassment,” but these people continue to ignore the testimony not only of at least one of Sterger’s friends who claimed that Sterger received “naked pics” from many people (suggesting that Sterger made little effort to discourage this), but Sterger’s own comments to Deadspin: She kept them because they were “fun to laugh at” amongst friends. Allison Torres, furthermore, testified that it was her impression that Sterger was not “offended” by Favre’s attentions, and in fact did not deter him. This isn’t hearsay; Torres claimed to have been there when at least one of these contacts occurred. There were other factors, such as the fact that Sterger waited years and then only mentioned it for personal notoriety before events got out-of-hand; and then there was the suggestion that extortion was involved. Although the final report "officially" states that investigators could find no "wrongdoing" by Sterger, the back story could not have been completely ignored, and almost certainly factored in the league’s decision. It also appears that Favre’s lack of “cooperation” paid-off for him in the end; despite the use of FBI electronic forensic techniques, it could not be proven that the infamous pics came from Favre. In the final “analysis,” the NFL decided that this was a matter of personal morality in which neither side was innocent. Favre’s judge and jury is ultimately his own family, not the league or the media. As for Sterger, she must come to grips with the fact that her desire for notoriety did not pay-off in the end.

Many in the media remained mired in hypocrisy; the Fox Sports website story also offers a link to Sterger’s semi-clothed Maxim pics. Doug Gottlieb made a not very well thought-out comparison of Favre to Allen Iverson. Jemele Hill at ESPN wanted to make a racial double-standard point, although she would have been better off discussing Fox News’ Tucker Carlson stating that because he is “Christian,” he believes that Michael Vick should have been executed over his dog-fighting conviction; it is sometimes hard to differentiate right-wing “Christians” and the Muslim “terrorists” they decry. Kevin Seifert stated his belief that even though Favre got off easy, people will always remember Favre for this episode; perhaps that is his wish, but for most of us, Sterger will be an unpleasant anecdote that only the media will try to keep alive. My impression is that much of the anti-Favre talk is derived from envy and self-obsession. Everyone in the media thinks that they are superstars—but mainly in their own minds. The real superstars will always be the players who are their meal tickets. Favre didn’t ask for the media’s attention—he earned it, because he is one of the most popular football players to ever play the game. For almost 20 years, Favre played like the sandlot kid; it is true that this tendency made him unpredictable on the field, but that love/hate relationship with fans made him impossible ignore. He is certainly less easy to ignore than his media deriders.

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