Lawyer Joseph Conway, in a press release sent to multiple members of the media, criticized the NFL’s decision to fine quarterback Brett Favre $50,000 for lack of candor and failure to cooperate (i.e., lying) to the league and, ultimately, to impose no discipline on him for sexual harassment.
“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. “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.
“Likewise, Mr. Goodell completely failed to address the complicity of the New York Jet organization in Favre’s conduct. 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.”
It’s hard to disagree with much of Conway’s statement. (We’ve already offered up our views on the matter.) We’re not sure, however, that we share Conway’s concern that the Jets have “complicity” via the fact that an employee of the team (probably not a management-level employee) gave Sterger’s phone number to Favre. Unless Favre told the employee that he wanted the number so that he could sexually harass Sterger, who cares if a Jets employee gave Sterger’s number to Favre?
Except, of course, Mrs. Favre.