Brett Favre has not yet been criminally charged for his role in an extensive Mississippi scandal that entailed the misuse of federal welfare funds. Based on a lengthy new item from Michael Rosenberg of SI.com, it’s clear that Favre still faces the possibility of indictment.
Rosenberg’s story — a very, very #longread — paints a picture of a former football player obsessed with raising money to pay for a volleyball venue at the University of Southern Mississippi, apparently so that he wouldn’t have to pay for it himself.
Favre was seeking free money wherever he could find it. It’s possible he didn’t know the public funds he pursued were meant for Mississippi’s poorest of the poor. It’s probable that he just didn’t care.
Consider this exchange before former Mississippi governor Phil Bryant and USM president Rodney Bennett, as reported by Rosenberg.
Said Bryant in January 2020: “Brett keeps asking to help him fund the Volleyball Facility.”
Replied Bennett: “I’ve asked Brett to not do the things he’s doing to seek funding from state agencies and the legislature for the volleyball facility. As you know, [institutions of higher learning have] a process of how we request and get approval for projects and what he’s doing is outside those guidelines. I will see for the ‘umpteenth time’ if we can get him to stand down. The bottom line is he personally guaranteed the project, and on his word and handshake we proceeded. It’s time for him to pay up — it really is just that simple.”
Bryant responded with this: “Maybe he wants the State to pay off his promises. Like all of us I like Brett. He is a legend but he has to understand what a pledge means. I have tried many time[s] to explain that to him.”
Rosenberg writes based on the information available that Favre at times “comes off as comically clueless,” and that he often “seems highly manipulative.” Through it all, Favre was relentless in chasing available cash.
Favre continues to deny any wrongdoing. He has filed multiple defamation lawsuits against those who have suggested that he engaged in misappropriation of funds from the poor.
As Rosenberg notes, Favre “is one of only a few potential dominos left” in a chain of indictments and guilty pleas. And Rosenberg’s reporting (along with reporting from others) shows that there’s enough smoke for Favre to be concerned that someone will decide to try to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of fire.