Favre fined for lack of cooperation

By Dave Campbell
Associated Press / December 30, 2010

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Brett Favre was fined $50,000 by the NFL yesterday for failing to cooperate with its investigation of inappropriate messages and lewd photos he allegedly sent to a former Jets game-day employee.

Commissioner Roger Goodell “could not conclude’’ that Favre violated the league’s personal conduct policy based on the evidence currently available to him.

The league said forensic analysis failed to establish that the Vikings quarterback sent objectionable photographs to Jenn 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,’’ its statement announcing the fine said.

The NFL said its sole focus was on whether Favre violated workplace conduct policy, not to “make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships.’’

Goodell determined 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 league said. The investigation began in early October.

The commissioner also told 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.’’

For the multimillionaire quarterback, the penalty is a pittance. Even while sitting out of Tuesday’s game at Philadelphia because of postconcussion symptoms, Favre essentially earned $50,000 over about five minutes of action.

There was no immediate comment from Favre or his agent, Bus Cook.

Sterger’s attorney, Joseph Conway, said that “my client and I are extremely disappointed, but not surprised’’ by the ruling. He added that they “strongly disagree’’ with Goodell’s finding of insufficient evidence to show a violation of league policy.

“It clearly shows that an NFL star player was given preferential treatment and tells all other players that failure to cooperate may cost you some money but will not result in other punishment,’’ said Conway, who added there was “ample evidence’’ the photos were of Favre.

“Today’s decision is an affront to all females and shows once again that, despite tough talk, the NFL remains the good old boys’ league,’’ he said.

The allegations against the three-time MVP surfaced on the website Deadspin, which posted a video Oct. 7 that included text messages and voicemails allegedly left by Favre for Sterger in 2008 when they both worked for the Jets, including one in which he invites her to his hotel. The video ends with several below-the-belt photos — said to be of Favre — which were allegedly sent to Sterger.

Sterger refused to speak on the record to the website. Weeks after the story broke, she talked with league investigators and cooperated fully, according to her manager.

Citing unidentified sources, Fox Sports reported earlier that Favre admitted to NFL investigators that he left the voicemails but denied sending the inappropriate photos.

The league said its investigation included the following: “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.’’

It said the investigation was limited in several respects because the matter was not brought to its attention until two years after it allegedly occurred.

Favre has consistently refused to answer reporters’ questions about the allegations. He said early on that he had enough to worry about with the Vikings’ next opponent, and that’s certainly been true this season.

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