We reported on Saturday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met personally with former Jets in-house sideline reporter Jenn Sterger last week.
Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News confirms that the meeting occurred, and he reports that the session “became heated at times.”
It’s not surprising that it became heated, given the perception by Sterger’s representatives that no action will be taken against Favre. Sterger’s manager, Phil Reese, and her lawyer, Joe Conway, believe that Sterger’s name can be cleared only with a finding that Favre in some way violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy via his interactions with Sterger.
Part of the problem, in our view, is that the Sterger camp at times confuses “wrongdoing” with sexual harassment. If Favre, a married man, pursued Sterger for a romantic relationship by, among other things, sending photos of a sensitive part of his anatomy via text message, he engaged in something that most reasonable persons would describe as wrongdoing. But whether it amounted to sexual harassment is a more complicated proposition, depending in large part on Sterger’s reaction to the alleged advances.
O’Keeffe also confirms that Goodell met with Favre on Monday, before the Vikings “hosted” the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium. Favre said after the game that he met with Goodell, but Favre danced around the subject of whether the meeting entailed the Sterger case.
“You know, I saw him briefly for I would say five or 10 minutes,” Favre said, via the press conference televised by ESPN. “It was a very brief conversation, so I wouldn’t think — I wouldn’t call that an investigation or anything.”
On Sunday, Goodell told NBC’s Bob Costas that the Commissioner expects to make a decision regarding the case before the season is over.
“We’ve been very serious, we’ve been very thoughtful, we’ve been very thorough and we’re going to continue to do that,” Goodell told Costas. “We take this issue very seriously and I want to make the right decision.”
We’ve got a feeling that the decision could come as soon as tomorrow or Thursday. For the purposes of letting the news disappear into a long Christmas weekend, late Thursday afternoon would be ideal. The fact that the NFL is playing a game on Thursday night makes us think that it makes some sense to put it out there late Wednesday, so that the league can then take its lumps on Thursday morning and then focus on the Thursday night game between the Panthers and Steelers.
Then again, since not many people will be paying attention to the Panthers-Steelers game, Thursday afternoon may indeed be the best way to go.
Either way, a suspension undoubtedly won’t happen. Favre has appeal rights that could not be exhausted before Week 17, in part because he has the right to wait 10 days to challenge a suspension.
Though he possibly won’t be playing in either of the Vikings’ final two games, the fact that he makes nearly $1 million per week makes a one-game suspension a very expensive penalty.