By Steve Kallas
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently stated that there would be a “decision” in the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger case before the regular season ended. Well, the regular season ends on Sunday – and the decision is in (for the details of the Favre-Sterger dispute, see Kallas Remarks, 10/12/10 and 10/26/10).
The NFL fined Favre fined $50,000 on Wednesday for his “failure to cooperate” with Goodell’s investigation.
What, if anything, does such a decision mean?
THE FAVRE STREAK IS OVER
As every football fan knows, Brett Favre’s consecutive-game streak ended this season at 297 (think about that; even if the NFL goes to an 18-game schedule, someone will have to play every game for 16 consecutive seasons – and they will still be nine games short – amazing). You knew that the NFL would not act while Favre’s streak was intact (imagine the reaction if the streak was stopped by an NFL suspension based on voicemails, text messages and pictures of genitalia (allegedly Favre’s)).
Having said that, it seems highly unlikely that Favre will return to play next season. Remember, he went 33 TDs, 7 Interceptions in 2009, prompting some Minnesota Vikings to go down to Mississippi during 2010 training camp and beg Favre to come back. He did, and it was an unmitigated disaster.
The yearly “will he or won’t he?” long ago became tiresome. It would be ridiculous for him to come back next year. No streak, no real chance to win (no matter what some “experts” might think), it would be more of the same next year. A great competitor, a great quarterback, a sure fire Hall of Famer, there is really nothing left for him to prove.
SO, WHAT DOES THE NFL DO NOW?
If the NFL wanted to appear tough and believed those were pictures of Favre, they could have suspended him for a few games at the beginning of next year, especially if they believe he is going to retire. Then, they could have been viewed to be “tough” on these issues when, in reality, it would have been much ado about nothing.
But, again, the NFL only levied a fine on the aging QB. According to the league’s statement, Goodell “could not conclude” that Favre violated the personal conduct policy based on the evidence currently available.
WHAT DOES JENN STERGER DO?
A more interesting question. As we approach 2011, no known lawsuit has been filed by Sterger or her counsel. One would think that, if there are grounds for a suit, it would already have been filed. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, generally-speaking, most lawsuits, including any sexual harassment suits through government entities, have a two-year or less statute of limitations. Since the allegations have been, essentially, that all of this took place in 2008, it would appear that these lawsuits are all time-barred by the statute of limitations.
Again, as also discussed previously, there may be a way to sue Favre (unlikely against the Jets or the NFL, although that doesn’t mean the Sterger camp won’t try) outside of government harassment statutes and have the suit not be time-barred. But, don’t forget, there never seemed to be any contemporary complaint by Sterger to the Jets, to Favre or even to her friends (remember the reports that she just laughed about all of this at the time?). That wouldn’t necessarily result in an outright dismissal, but it would mitigate against any decision or real recovery against Favre in an actual legal case.
Of course, some kind of suit may be filed against Favre (or possibly, the Jets or the NFL) simply looking for a quick resolution (read: payday). But that remains to be seen.
Hopefully, once and for all, Brett Favre will fade into the distance.
- Kallas Remarks: Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger Legal Update (newyork.cbslocal.com)