If there were any justice in the world, NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre would have been canceled long ago, after two massage therapists for the NY Jets sued him back in 2011, claiming they lost their jobs as a result of a crude text message Favre sent to one of the women. Favre denied the allegations and the lawsuit was eventually settled. But it sounds awfully familiar to a text Favre allegedly sent to another unsuspecting Jets’ employee. The one everyone knows about. (This is where we tell you that the victim in that unwholesome incident had never even MET Breff Favre before he —allegedly — texted her.) But as we always say, pro athletes can do anything to women if they’re good enough on the field. Favre has denied any wrongdoing, both then and now.
Alas, Brett Favre was not canceled. In fact, he was rolled out not only as an elder statesman of the game by the NFL, but as a celebrity spokesman for companies like Copper Fit, Sensodyne, Wrangler, and Hyundai. And it’s because of that adulation despite alleged terrible behavior that Brett Favre was in any position to do what he’s accused of doing down in Mississippi.
Part of Favre’s “aw shucks” small-town boy image was his attachment to his home state of Mississippi, where he was born, played his college ball, and currently resides. Brett Favre ain’t no sissy left coast elitist! He’s a good ole boy from down Mississippi, goll darn it!
That regular guy schtick and love of his home state is what makes Favre’s alleged role in diverting welfare money from the needy in Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union by several different metrics, so galling. Here’s what our Eric Blum had to say about the allegations against Favre back in November:
As if Brett Favre’s blunders in (allegedly) diverting $5 million of Mississippi’s federal welfare money to build a new volleyball facility at Southern Miss wasn’t crazy enough, two concussion drug companies he backed that are also entangled in the scandal overstated the known effectiveness of their drugs to raise money, according to an ESPN report.
Favre, who was paid over $138 million in his NFL career, was also funneled $1.1 million to promote a state initiative, a portion of the $77 million in misspent welfare funds, for speeches that he never delivered. Those funds were reportedly a backchannel to his volleyball arena project. An audit released in 2020 said that New’s Mississippi Community Education Center paid Favre Enterprises $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 to make speeches for at least three events. In 2020, Favre was ordered to repay the funds, but still owes nearly $228,000 in interest.
Favre has said he was unaware the funds directed to him for his speeches were welfare-designated funds.
If the odious allegations are true, they can’t be understood without mentioning that less than two percent of those who apply for welfare in Mississippi actually get it, the lowest acceptance rate in the nation. So, poorest state in the county + lowest welfare acceptance rate = a whole lot of people who needed that money much more than the University of Southern Mississippi’s volleyball team did.
Favre has denied the allegations and blamed the media, saying in a statement to Fox News (of course), “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight. No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.”
That would be a much more believable argument had the Mississippi Free Press not released text messages from Favre to non-profit founder Nancy New, who has since pled guilty to bribery of a public official, fraud against the government, and wire fraud, asking if there was any way the media could find out how where the diverted funds came from. Good thinking, Brett.
The entire story is long and terrible and devastatingly sad for needy families in Mississippi. But Brett Favre has been terrible for a long time. Sad it took sports fans this long to figure that out.