The NFL has (finally) officially punished Brett Favre for the Jenn Sterger cell phone harrassment controversy that rocked the sports world earlier this season. But Favre wasn’t fined $50,000 for what he said/did/sent to the former Jets in-game host. No, he was fined that sum “for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner.”
Here’s the league’s full statement:
The NFL office conducted an investigation to determine whether Brett Favre’s interaction with New York Jets game-day employee Jenn Sterger in 2008 violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.
In reviewing the matter, the sole focus was on whether there was a violation of league policies regarding conduct in the workplace. NFL policies do not extend to private conduct or make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships, except where that conduct or those relationships raise issues under the law or league policies.
The investigation included an analysis of publicly available reports; a series of interviews with knowledgeable individuals, including Sterger and Favre; a review of communications between the two furnished to our office; and independent forensic analysis of electronically stored material. The investigation was limited in several respects because the conduct occurred in 2008 but was not brought to our attention until this fall. As a result, certain records and individuals were unavailable to the NFL.
The investigation also reviewed a second media report about allegations involving other women who worked at the Jets’ facility in 2008. Misconduct by Favre regarding that claim was unable to be substantiated because individuals with potentially relevant information declined to be interviewed or otherwise cooperate with the investigation. In addition, our investigation took longer than might ordinarily have been the case due to difficulties in arranging to speak with certain key individuals, the time required to retrieve and review stored electronic records, and Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to meet personally with both Favre and Sterger before making a decision.
On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct. The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger. The review found no evidence to contradict the statements of both Favre and Sterger that they never met in person, nor was there anything to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.
However, Commissioner Goodell also determined that Favre was not candid in several respects during the investigation, resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger, and the NFL. The commissioner notified Favre that he has been fined $50,000 for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner. Commissioner Goodell stated to Favre that if he had found a violation of the league’s workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a substantially higher level of discipline.
In a memo to clubs today, Commissioner Goodell reminded them of the serious nature of this matter and stated that NFL policies make no excuses for improper or potentially unlawful conduct in the workplace. ”Every member of every club’s staff should be able to work in an environment free of harassment or hostility, and one in which every employee is valued, respected, and given a full opportunity to contribute to the goals of the club and the NFL,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Our new training program on workplace conduct will help all of us to promote the right kind of environment for all employees and I intend to dedicate the fine I have imposed on Favre to help fund that training program.”
So there you have it. Favre’s reputation is only slightly tarnished, but he probably walks away more embarrassed by his on-field performances (which can be proven thanks to video tape) than by his alleged off-field transgressions. Sterger’s reputation is damaged permanently, and she’ll likely be blackballed in the world of sports television.
Oh, and it appears as though she didn’t get a dime from Favre, who has been forced to hand 0.3 percent of his 2010 salary back to the league.