NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said on multiple occasions that he hopes to render a decision regarding the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger situation by the end of the 2010 regular season.
With the 2010 regular season ending in nine days, Goodell is running out of time.
We thought that a decision could come on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. It didn’t. Now that Christmas Eve has commenced, we’d be surprised if the rare sense of nearly-universal calm and quiet that will unfold this afternoon is disrupted by the release of excerpts of a letter in which Goodell wags a finger at Favre for photographing something other than a finger and texting it to Sterger, allegedly.
So why the delay? We have a theory. With Sterger’s camp claiming that she won’t sue if Favre is found responsible for wrongdoing, delaying a finding of no wrongdoing until after the deadline for filing a lawsuit has passed prevents a viable lawsuit from being filed.
Sterger’s lawyer, Joseph Conway, told PFT earlier this month that the last communication between Favre and Sterger while both were employed by the Jets occurred on December 28, 2008. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing sexual harassment claims is two years. Thus, the deadline for filing a sexual harassment claim under New Jersey law comes and goes early next week.
Other claims with longer deadlines could be filed, and Conway could try to extend the deadline based on a call made by Favre to Sterger in June 2009, after their employment with the Jets had ended. (The only flaw with this approach being that, you know, their employment with the Jets had ended.) Thus, the safest course for Conway would be to file the core claim — sexual harassment — before the two-year anniversary of the last act of alleged harassment that occurred while Favre and Sterger were employed by the Jets.
As a result, we now think a decision will come on December 29 or 30. And that the decision will be that no discipline will be imposed on Favre because it’s too difficult in this case for the league to determine whether sexual harassment as defined by the law occurred, and that the situation would better be resolved in a court of law, where Favre’s lawyers would have a full and fair opportunity to develop evidence regarding the possibility that Sterger wasn’t offended by any of the alleged communications.
Which may never happen if a lawsuit isn’t filed by December 28, 2010.