After a months-long investigation into allegations that Brett Favre sent inappropriate texts and lewd photos to former Jets game day host Jenn Sterger in 2008, the NFL declared Wednesday that Favre didn't violate the league's personal conduct policy, but fined the quarterback $50,000 for failing to cooperate in the matter.
The league began its investigation in October, when a report on the website Deadspin.com showed a lewd photo allegedly sent by Favre to Sterger when the two were with the Jets during the 2008 season. The website reported in August that Favre had sent explicit texts to Sterger, but it wasn't until October that the league decided to open an investigation.
The league said commissioner Roger Goodell couldn't conclude that Favre went afoul of the NFL's personal conduct policy, but that his failure to fully cooperate in the investigation was punishable by a fine. The Jets were not implicated in any wrongdoing because Goodell did not find any violation of the league's conduct policy.
Sterger's attorney, Joseph Conway of Mineola, ripped the league's decision, and said he was "uncertain at this time" whether Sterger would pursue the matter through the courts.
"My client and I are extremely disappointed, but not surprised, at the NFL announcement that Brett Favre did not violate the NFL 'workplace conduct' policy," Conway said in a statement. "We strongly disagree with his conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to support a violation of the policy.
"To the contrary, our evidence and the personal testimony of Ms. Sterger clearly showed a pattern of lewd and offensive behavior by Mr. Favre that lasted all of the 2008 season."
The league said its forensic analysis could not definitively establish that Favre sent the objectionable pictures to Sterger, although 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."
Goodell indicated 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 NFL," the league statement said.
The league said the case dragged out because of what it described as complications in setting up interviews with "certain key individuals," retrieving and reviewing electronic records and Goodell's decision to speak with Favre and Sterger before making his decision.
Conway said the evidence was clear, however. "In addition to the offensive messages, there was ample evidence to show that the sexually explicit photographs were part of Favre's inappropriate behavior," he said in his statement. "Our evidence clearly showed that the photos were sent by Favre."
Conway also said Goodell "completely failed to address the complicity of the New York Jet organization in Favre's conduct. The evidence was explicit that Ms. Sterger's personal telephone numbers were provided to Favre by still-current employees of the New York Jets. This was done without Ms. Sterger's knowledge and consent."
Conway said the decision "is an affront to all females and shows once again that, despite tough talk, the NFL remains the good old boys' league."