Favre nears expected end with $50k fine
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn: As Brett Favre pondered his future this summer, three Minnesota Vikings players arrived at his Mississippi home with a last-ditch sales pitch to persuade the aging quarterback to put on his uniform for a 20th season.
But his teammates weren't selling this: With the Vikings out of the playoff chase and the once-bionic signal-caller recovering from yet another serious injury, Favre began what could well be the final week of his career with another hit - a $50,000 fine from the NFL. The league finalized Wednesday a slow-paced investigation of tawdry allegations against the 41-year-old with a rebuke of the all-time ironman for not cooperating with the process.
After nearly three months of interviews, forensic analy- sis and further examination, the NFL said Commissioner Roger Goodell "could not conclude" that Favre violated the league's personal conduct policy based on the evidence available to him. Investigators were trying to determine if Favre sent inappropriate messages and below-the-belt photos to Jenn Sterger in 2008, when both worked for the New York Jets.
Forensic analysis failed to establish that Favre sent the images to Sterger, the league said, but her attorney in accusing the NFL of favoritism asserted there was "ample evidence" that the photos came from 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," attorney Joseph Conway said.
Favre's punishment stems from Goodell's determination that he 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 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."
There was no immediate comment from Favre and his agent, Bus Cook, did not return messages. Vikings players had Wednesday off, and interim coach Leslie Frazier said he "never put a lot of energy or focus" on the situation.
"I can't really speak for Brett and how it has affected him on and off the field," Frazier said. "I just know that whenever he's in meetings, whenever he's on the practice field, he's been all in in every situation. I've never thought for a moment that he wasn't as prepared as well as he's prepared ever."
The league said its investigation dragged out because of difficulties in setting up interviews with "certain key individuals," the complication of retrieving and reviewing electronic records and Goodell's decision to meet with both Favre and Sterger before reaching a conclusion.
Goodell in a memo sent Wednesday to all NFL teams said that "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." -Ap
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