When you hear the name Brett Favre, what’s the first thing that pops in your head?
Warrior? Gunslinger? He’s just out there having fun?
How about creep? Scumbag? Or adulterer?
You would have to seek long and hard to find the latter associated with Favre, but all of them are applicable after Deadspin broke a story three weeks ago about the 41-year-old Minnesota Vikings quarterback. In the story, it details a series of voicemails and nude photos allegedly sent from Favre to former New York Jets employee Jenn Sterger in 2008.
During his short stint in the Big Apple, Favre set his sights on Sterger, who was a sideline reporter for the Jets. She reportedly turned down his advances because he was married and an employee of the Jets organization. According to Sterger, Favre also allegedly sent several photos of his penis, including one of him masturbating, from the same Mississippi area code that had left the voicemails. Favre also pursued two anonymous massage therapists according to the Deadspin report.
Earlier this week, Favre reportedly admitted to the NFL that he did leave the voicemails for Sterger but denied ever sending inappropriate photos.
So should we assume one of his then-Jet teammates stole Favre’s phone and sent the photos to Sterger without his knowledge?
All eyes will be on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to see if he considers the Favre scandal as a violation of his strict personal conduct policy, which attempts to control off-the-field behavior by its players and improve the league’s public image.
While Sterger didn’t file any legal charges against Favre, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he was accused of sexual assault in a Georgia nightclub, marking the first time in league history a player had been suspended under the personal conduct policy without being charged with a crime.
The reaction to the ongoing Favre saga from the mainstream media has been baffling to say the very least, especially when you compare it to the non-stop coverage Tiger Woods received during his infidelity.
Neither Woods nor Favre will be nominated for “Husband of the Year” in 2010, as both have proven in the past 11 months that marriage is not for everyone — especially for high profile athletes.
But when Woods’ personal life was in shambles at the end of last year, you would have thought he did something far worse than engage in consensual sexual relations with mistresses based on the media reaction.
His reputation was destroyed.
His sponsors vanished.
His career put on hold.
What Woods did to Elin Nordegren doesn’t compare to what Favre has put his wife, Deanna, through during their 14 years of marriage.
She stood by Favre through his addiction to Vicodin in 1996 and his battles with alcoholism throughout their marriage. A breast cancer survivor, Deanna was on the brink of divorcing Favre in 1999. “He was going to lose me,” she said in her 2008 book, Don’t Bet Against Me!: Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer and in Life. “There was no question. There was no way I could stay. There were things that he was doing that just didn’t make him quite the family man that he is now.”
Together, they have two daughters and in April, Favre became a grandfather with the birth of his grandson, Parker Brett.
What if I told you that your grandfather was sending nude photos of himself to 20-somethings? (I sincerely apologize for that visual that’s currently in your head.)
Prior to the allegations, Favre was the eighth most likable athlete according to Marketing Evaluations’ Q Scores. If an updated ranking came out tomorrow, Favre would be out of the top 10 list for sure, but would he be rubbing elbows with Michael Vick and Woods on the most hated list?
So, what’s the difference between Favre and Woods?
Two months ago, we asked “if a black athlete could get away with Favre’s annual media circus”:htthttp://www.thegrio.com/sports/could-a-black-athlete-get-away-with-brett-favre-behavior.phpp:// around his decision to play football.
Fast-forward to today and Favre is proving to all of us that a white athlete can get away with behavior similar to Woods.
Shame on me for thinking this story would finally change the public’s perception of Favre. If his narcissistic, egomaniacal ways during his 20-year NFL career wasn’t enough to sway fans, why would his failed attempt as an adulterer be any different?
After all, “That’s just Brett being Brett.”
Read more GRIO Sports:
Why can’t some black athletes get any love? (9/16/2010)
Could a black athlete get away with Brett Favre’s behavior? (8/20/2010)