Home News Welfare Scandal in Mississippi May Tarnish Brett Favre’s Legacy

Welfare Scandal in Mississippi May Tarnish Brett Favre’s Legacy

by Atlanta Business Journal

It’s not yet known if Favre will face legal consequences for his role in the misuse of these public funds. But his connection to it has resulted in significant public scrutiny — a kind of scrutiny that Favre has faced before. More than a decade ago, a game-day host for the Jets, Jenn Sterger, accused Favre of sending her lewd and harassing messages while he was a quarterback for the team. (The N.F.L. said it could not establish that Favre sent the photographs to Sterger but fined him $50,000 for failing to cooperate with the investigation.)

Sage Rosenfels, a former N.F.L. quarterback and Favre’s teammate on the Minnesota Vikings, called him out in a Twitter post, writing, “Since retirement, I have been lucky to avoid stealing millions of dollars from the poorest people in my state.” Rich Desrosiers, the chief communications officer for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said he has fielded about a dozen phone calls from fans about Favre, all asking for him to be removed from the Hall, into which he was inducted in 2016. “There’s no question this has outraged a number of fans,” he said.

Desrosiers said he has told each caller that Favre has not yet been charged with any crime, and that the Hall of Fame bylaws, as they are currently written, don’t allow for the removal of someone once they have been elected. No one has ever been removed, including George Preston Marshall, the demonstrably racist former owner of Washington’s N.F.L. team; O.J. Simpson, who was found responsible in civil court for the murders of his former wife and her friend; and Lawrence Taylor, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor sex offenses after soliciting an underage woman.

Regardless of what happens to Favre in the formal settings that chronicle his football achievements, there is a number that is perhaps more striking than his streak of 321 consecutive starts: the $8 million meant for poor people that he is accused by the state of pushing to his personal interests, despite having earned more than $140 million in his N.F.L. playing career.

That he did so while running a foundation that, in part, pledged to aid underserved Mississippians seems too cynical to be true. One of the organizations listed as a charity partner of Favre 4 Hope is Hope Haven, which serves children in Mississippi who are victims of sexual abuse and trauma. Hope Haven’s executive director, John James, said the center usually receives a $10,000 donation from Favre’s foundation late in the year. He said he hopes the donations keep coming despite the recent headlines because the funding helps Hope Haven meet the needs of its community.

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