In early August, the folks at Deadspin posted an item regarding the allegations of Jenn Sterger, co-host of The Daily Line on Versus and previously an in-house sideline reporter for the Jets.
The initial story alluded to, but included no evidence of, voice messages or photos that Favre sent to Sterger in 2008.
Earlier today, with the Vikings preparing to face the Jets on Monday night, Deadspin (employing timing that would make ESPN proud) dropped on the football-following world audio of two voice messages, and several photos that Favre reportedly sent.
Though Favre was asked no questions about the situation in August (except perhaps by Mrs. Favre), the subject came up during Thursday’s tripleheader press conference involving coach Brad Childress, receiver Randy Moss, and Favre.
Favre nonchalantly declined to address the situation. “I’ve got my hands full with the Jets,” he said.
Given the content of the voice messages — it sure sounds like Favre’s voice, and it sure sounds like he was pursuing her for motivations other than platonic — Favre needs to be saying something more than, “I’ve got my hands full with the Jets” if it’s not him or if there’s a plausible alternative explanation.
The next question is whether and to what extent the alleged conduct violated any league policy, including the Personal Conduct Policy. In September, after the league acknowledged that it was looking into the existence of an X-rated videotape involving Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello provided us a cryptic comment regarding whether the league looked into the Favre-Sterger situation.
“One can assume that we look into everything that is relevant, whether
we say so or not,” Aiello said. “This is not a confirmation of anything.”
Surely, the league looked into it. Surely, the league doesn’t want to make something that isn’t a story into a story, especially since it involves another situation in which an NFL player allegedly has directed boorish behavior toward a female. Fortunately for the NFL, Sterger hasn’t made an issue out of the incident, beyond equipping Deadspin with enough information to permit the story to become public.
Still, the league has every reason to be concerned about preventing this kind of behavior. Even though Sterger supposedly was a contractor and not an employee of the Jets, she became exposed to Favre (and, allegedly, Favre became exposed to her) via her workplace. The fact that, per Deadspin, a Jets P.R. employee may have known about Favre’s interest in Sterger and facilitated the communications would make it only more difficult to avoid potential liability for sexual harassment, if the alleged victim were inclined to proceed with civil charges. (Apart from the fact that Sterger doesn’t seem to be inclined to sue, the statute of limitations will soon be running, if it hasn’t already.)
For the same reasons that the NFL pounced on the situation involving the Jets and the reporter from TV Azteca, the league needs to aggressively explore the Favre allegations, and the league needs to act accordingly to ensure that a future situation like this doesn’t end up being much more public and troubling for the NFL’s interests. Unlike the TV Azteca situation, there will be no news releases or public comment as the NFL gets its house in order to ensure that players realize the bright line between themselves and coworkers who have failed to reciprocate any possible romantic interest.