Brett Favre sues Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee for defamation

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Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is fighting back.

The former quarterback, embroiled for months in a scandal regarding the alleged misappropriation of welfare funds intended for Mississippi residents, has sued Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee for defamation of character, based on things they have allegedly said about him in connection with the Mississippi welfare situation.

“Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee tried to further their careers by making baseless defamatory allegations against Brett Favre,” a Favre spokesperson told

That’s a tad hyperbolic, in my opinion. Sharpe and McAfee are doing just fine on their own. They don’t need to allegedly lie about someone who hasn’t played in a dozen years in order to boost their careers.

The alleged defamation traces, frankly, to a failure to exercise caution when speaking about Favre’s situation. He has always claimed that he did not know the source of funding for payments made both to him and to the University of Southern Mississippi. He also has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Whenever discussing Favre’s situation, it’s important to point that out.

Sharpe, according the article regarding the lawsuit, allegedly called Favre a “sleazeball” on FS1 in September 2022, while also accusing Favre of knowingly stealing $1.1 million in Mississippi welfare funds for speeches Favre never made. McAfee allegedly accused Favre of “stealing from the poor people of Mississippi.”

“Every time his name gets brought up, we have to mention that he tied the hands of the poor people and took money right out of their pockets,” McAfee said about Favre, per the report regarding the lawsuit.

It’s always a challenge for a public figure to prove defamation. Favre will be required to show that Sharpe and McAfee acted with actual malice, which in this context means proving that they knew or should have known that the statements were false.

Also, when it comes to the issue of proving legal damages, Favre will have to show harm to his existing reputation. Which puts into issue anything relevant to his existing reputation. Which opens the door to a deep dive regarding whatever he did or didn’t do in connection with his interactions with Jenn Sterger, including but not limited to the $50,000 fine the NFL imposed on Favre for failing to cooperate with its internal investigation.

Really, any allegedly shady and/or improper activities in which Favre has engaged become fair game for the litigation. Also, the fact that truth is an absolute defense to defamation gives Sharpe and McAfee license to explore the question of whether Favre did in fact do what they said he did.

For those reasons, Favre would have been well advised to let this go. He has given Sharpe and McAfee a blank check to delve into any nook and cranny of Favre’s life in an effort either to prove that the statements they made were true, to show that he didn’t have a good reputation before their comments were made, or both.

43 responses to “Brett Favre sues Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee for defamation

  1. Pretty sure Pat is going to have a field day with this one, and given his massive platform it’s only going to make Favre look more foolish.

  2. Good for Favre! I wish more athletes and public figures sued when defamatory statements are made.

  3. Just like in his playing days, Brett is getting some questionable advice from attorneys.

  4. I cant stand shannon and pat, and favre is persona non grata now. Yet somehow Brett’s career still looks better than A Rod’s.

  5. I didn’t think Farve’s reputation could be damaged anymore than it already has been.

  6. The American legal system, especially civil, is designed by lawyers for lawyers in order to enrich themselves.

  7. I side with Favre in this one. Shannon Sharpe is always running his big horse toothed mouth and has been a tool forever. McAfee needs to get in the gym before he wears those lame tank tops of his. Not a good look guy.

  8. The part that is strange is that Favre and Rodgers get along great now but so do Rodgers and McAffey. How does play out going forward?

  9. Hey Brett, the state of Mississippi is suing you. Should they win, I’d imagine your defamation case against Sharpe, McAfee and Shay goes away quick.

  10. Sharpe & McAfee have more money than Favre, so they can lawyer-up for sure. Favre may want to rethink his position since they may bring up his encounters w/ Jenn Sterger.

  11. Favre is one of the most likable people, he will win, shirtless dude and smacker can go pound sand.

  12. Everyone should be able to say whatever they want about anyone true or not. They might as well called Favre a rapist hope he is exonerated and they are forced to issue a daily apology

  13. Maybe it’s nothing, but there could be some bad blood with Shannon and Favre before all of this. Brett thrived while brother Sterling flamed out (and was a massive diva/jerk while doing it). Probably some jealousy there. As for McAfee, he’s close with Rodgers, wonder if there’s an axe to grind there too.

  14. Sharpe & McAfee have more money than Favre, so they can lawyer-up for sure.

    Thats funny.

    Tell another..

  15. “Ryan Dubose says:
    February 9, 2023 at 8:31 pm
    Everyone should be able to say whatever they want about anyone true or not. They might as well called Favre a rapist hope he is exonerated and they are forced to issue a daily apology”-

    This is not true. Defamation, Libel, and Slander are part of our legal system.

  16. I bet the former and current MS Govs are not happy that this case will lead to further discovery.

  17. I cant stand shannon and pat, and favre is persona non grata now. Yet somehow Brett’s career still looks better than A Rod’s.

    Favre played on better teams.

    Favre is my favorite athlete ever, not even a close 2nd… but I don’t know how anyone would say he was better than Rodgers. If he could have sustained the window from 1994-1998, maybe.

    Everyone says Rodgers comes up small…. Favre literally threw seasons away. More than one.

  18. Favre isn’t that bright. This lawsuit was a terrible idea, he has zero leverage as not only do both parties have the same type of money that he has (and possibly even more) but as stated above, their legal times can now poke and prod at everything involving this situation – everything.

  19. When you’ve got politicians on tape telling you “I’m not going to jail over this” you probably should be keeping your head down. If Favre isn’t careful there will be still more shady dealings uncovered by his own lawsuit.

  20. Free speech and offering opinions is acceptable. But when Shannon Sharpe says “You got to be a sorry mofo to steal from the lowest of the low … Brett Favre is taking from the underserved. You made $100+ million in the NFL!”, that’s intentional Malice. That is the basis for a libel suit. You can offer an opinion,.. but Sharpe went beyond that. He stepped over the line of decency.

  21. Here is the thing with defamation cases: the plaintiff (Favre) has burden of proof. So it is NOT up to Sharpe and McAfee to prove the truthfulness of their statements, but up to Favre to DISPROVE their statements.

    Not only that, Favre would need to prove that the statements were presented as fact. No reasonable person would ever think Pat McAfee LITERALLY meant Favre hogtied poor people and stole their wallets; clearly, there is some hyperbole in there. In addition, Favre would need to identify which ways the statements have harmed him (such as, but not limited to, lost income, missed opportunities, or something like that).

    Lastly, that lawsuit opens up Favre for discovery. In defending themselves, Sharpe and McAfee could ask for call/text records, email correspondence, contractual information, or anything else they may want in an effort to defend themselves.

    Brett Favre filing that lawsuit is both absurd and stupid.

  22. I hope Favre prevails, he was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion regardless of any relevant facts, and comments made by those Like Sharpe were part of the problem.

  23. charliecharger says:
    February 9, 2023 at 6:42 pm
    Brett, you’re trying to shut people up. That’s cancel culture


    No it’s not. Cancel culture is not defending yourself over libelous comments.


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