NFL fines Brett Favre $50K
By Mark Maske
UPDATED (3:48 p.m.)...
The NFL fined Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre $50,000 for failing to cooperate "in a forthcoming manner" with its investigation into an allegation that he sent inappropriate electronic messages and photographs to a former New York Jets employee when both were with the team in the 2008 season.
The league's investigation did not establish that Favre violated the NFL's personal conduct policy, according to an announcement by the NFL released Wednesday.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had separate meetings with the former Jets employee, Jenn Sterger, and Favre during the investigation.
"On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct," the NFL's written statement said. "The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger. The review found no evidence to contradict the statements of both Favre and Sterger that they never met in person, nor was there anything to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.
"However, 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. The commissioner notified Favre that he has been fined $50,000 for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner. Commissioner Goodell stated to Favre that if he had found a violation of the league's workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a substantially higher level of discipline."
Since Favre was not suspended, he remains eligible to play Sunday in the Vikings' season finale.
Favre has said this will be his final NFL season.
The Web site Deadspin originally reported that Favre had sent the inappropriate messages to Sterger.
According to the NFL's announcement, Goodell sent a memo Wednesday to NFL teams in which he wrote: "Every member of every club's staff should be able to work in an environment free of harassment or hostility, and one in which every employee is valued, respected, and given a full opportunity to contribute to the goals of the club and the NFL. 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."
Sterger's attorney, Joseph Conway, said in a written statement to multiple media outlets that he and Sterger were "extremely disappointed" by the NFL's punishment of Favre, calling it insufficient.
"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," Conway said in the written statement. "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."
Conway said the Jets also were at fault.
"Likewise, Mr. Goodell completely failed to address the complicity of the New York Jet organization in Favre's conduct," Conway said. "The evidence was explicit that Ms. Sterger's personal telephone numbers were provided to Favre by still-current employees of the New York Jets. This was done without Ms. Sterger's knowledge and consent.
"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."
December 29, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
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