The long-awaited outcome of the NFL's probe into the accusations that quarterback Brett Favre sextually harassed former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger have been revealed: Commissioner Roger Goodell has fined Favre $50,000 for a "failure to cooperate" with the NFL's investigation. Goodell said the NFL "could not conclude" that Favre violated the league's personal conduct policy based on the evidence available. So great news Favre: you won't be suspended for what will likely be the final game of your career (which you'll probably sit out anyway because of injuries). Your legacy is untainted! And you're probably going to be sued!
The league has been investigating Sterger's accusations since last Fall. Sterger has alleged that the NFL has been dragging its heels with the investigation, giving Favre preferential treatment, so they wouldn't have to suspend the NFL legend.But the NFL countered that it took so long because it had difficulty arranging to speak with certain people, such as Sterger, who waited several weeks before agreeing to talk about the matter. In a statement released today, the NFL said:
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 N.F.L. 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.
Although $50,000 is new Jacuzzi-money to Favre, he may have to face a stiffer penalty if Sterger goes through with her (implied) threat to sue him. Earlier this month, Sterger's lawyer said she wouldn't sue Favre if the NFL suspended him (and started an anti-harassment program). So out of the pocket, into an incoming linebacker?