Last month, as the NFL began its swift and vigorous investigation of allegations that a blonde bombshell from TV Azteca had been harassed by the New York Jets, I inquired as to the case of Jenn Sterger.
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Sterger, you now know, was a famously buxom “reporter” who worked for the Jets during Brett Favre’s brief tenure there. In August, she was quoted on Deadspin.com, identifying Favre as “the creepy douche” who texted her photos of his penis. Alleged penis, I should say.
“We looked into it and found no evidence,” a league spokesperson told me.
That was Sept. 13. Less than four weeks later, just days before Favre was to face the Jets on Monday night, Deadspin published photos of the Favre’s alleged penis and voicemails of Favre’s alleged voice asking Sterger to meet him at his hotel.
In short order, the New York Post got Favre’s "no comment." The NFL launched an investigation. And the commissioner vowed to get to the truth.
But wait. I thought the league already investigated this. I thought it was baseless. Did I misunderstand the meaning of looked into it and found no evidence?
On Monday, league spokesman Greg Aiello explained via email that the photos and voicemails “require follow up to determine facts. Prior to that, it was a hearsay report with no one coming forward with a complaint or evidence.”
Well, not exactly. I also called Sterger in September. “I can tell you there was no investigation,” she said. “I was not contacted by the NFL.”
Of course not. She’s an inconvenient woman. Not only would her allegations ruin the popular notion of Brett Favre (or what’s left of it anyway), her case is a public relations nightmare. As stringent as the NFL’s conduct policy is, not even Roger Goodell is in a position to start sanctioning would-be adulterers. The question is, did the actions of Favre and his alleged penis rise to the level of harassment?
But here’s the problem: How do you prove harassment with a woman who has so willingly exploited her own sexuality? No, I’m not saying hotties can’t be harassed, or that Sterger wasn’t. But if you view her portfolio for Maxim and Playboy — which, chances are, you already have — you’ll better grasp, among other things, the potential complexities that await Goodell in reaching a conclusion.
It’s not yet known whether Sterger will cooperate. Her manager said, “We’re looking at all our options now and our only concern is what’s in Jenn’s best interest.”
In other words, he’ll do everything in his power to get his client on “Dancing With the Stars.” Also, it’s even money she’ll have retained Gloria Allred by the end of the week.
This has become a familiar ritual. Voicemails are curiously preserved. And women like these two unnamed massage therapists quoted in the New York papers start coming out of the proverbial woodwork.
And I wonder, being a single guy, where is this woodwork? I have to go there.
I also figure this is the end of Brett Favre. Finally, it’s over.
I don’t mean he can’t play anymore (though with the Vikings 1-3 after he threw another game-losing, fourth-quarter interception, you have to wonder why Minnesota gave him an extra $3 million guaranteed for showing up to camp). I mean the game has passed him by.
Favre would argue that the public isn’t entitled to the details of his personal life. Maybe, in some kind of perfect world, he’s right. Still, he’s living in the past. Favre is acting like a guy who turned pro years before anyone heard of the internet, which, of course, is what he is.
Just because nobody told him doesn’t mean the game hasn’t changed. This isn’t about his private life. It’s about reality.
Late Monday night, at the losing quarterback’s press conference, Favre was asked about his reportedly tearful apology to his Vikings teammates. Unlike most innocent men, he was sorry for being a distraction.
“That’s between me and my teammates.”
Are you embarrassed? he was asked.
“I’m embarrassed we lost this football game.”
What’s lacking, as usual, was any sense of irony. Consider that Favre had just become the first quarterback — and perhaps the last? — to throw for 70,000 yards and 500 touchdowns. Yet, somehow, those accomplishments were overwhelmed by the other, less-flattering storylines that revolved around him.
Favre was playing against a team he not only failed but also betrayed. Yes, retiring then unretiring from the Jets the way he did was a kind of betrayal.
The fans in Jersey obviously interpreted Monday as a measure of metaphorical justice. Their former quarterback was 14 of 34, with three touchdowns, three fumbles, and of course, the game-losing pick, which Dwight Lowery returned 26 yards for a touchdown.
Once again, players wore pink trim on their uniforms in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Of course, many football fans associate the color and the fight against breast cancer with Deanna Favre, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2004.
That would be the wife of the accused serial philanderer.