Brett Favre, the Hall of Fame quarterback, flubbed his recent audition to replace Jon Gruden as an analyst on Monday Night Football, according to the New York Post. Favre has been credibly accused of workplace sexual harassment by multiple women. He has never apologized. That he would even get the chance to audition indicates just how thoroughly he has evaded consequences for his actions.
The Post’s report also said “it was unclear if Favre would even want the job.” Favre reacted by firing off an “I didn’t want it anyway” tweet last night:
Another Favre-related story dropped yesterday, this one by Nina Mandell of For The Win. It’s an interview with the former Jenn Sterger, who now goes by her married name, Jenn Decker. She’s the woman who accused Favre of leaving her voicemails and texting her sexually explicit photos back in 2008, when they were both employed by the New York Jets. The problems began, Decker told Mandell, when another Jets employee approached Decker and told her that Favre—whom she had never met—had requested her phone number. Decker recalled giving a “smart-ass” reply before walking away—only to start getting texts and voicemails from Favre soon afterward.
“He started off talking to me about dumb stuff and he really never told me who he was, it was very implied,” Decker told Mandell. Decker said her industry friends told her to brush it off. She eventually alerted a Jets employee, who told her things would be taken care of. She changed her number, only to have Favre contact her again. Decker went on to relate how she became depressed during that season—and how afraid she was to tell anyone about what happened. From Mandell’s story:
“My parents had no idea what was going on,” she said. “My parents are my best friends, so not being able to tell them – I was nervous what they would think about me. My parents already put up with so much of me living this alternate life that they knew was a character basically but they put up with so much and I honestly didn’t know how to tell them. And I didn’t know what they would want me to do about it.
“You know my parents have always taught me to stand up for myself and to basically feel like I was rolling over, letting people treat me poorly, I felt like I was an embarrassment to them at that point.”
Based on conversations with Decker, Deadspin first reported on Favre’s behavior in 2010—albeit after Decker later declined to cooperate. A few months later, Deadspin published the evidence, including voicemails and sexually explicit photos, which were obtained from a third party. The NFL claimed it could not prove it was Favre who sent Decker the material, but it fined him $50,000 “for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner.”
Decker was not the only woman to accuse Favre of harassment. Soon after Decker’s allegations surfaced, two women who worked as massage therapists for the Jets sued Favre, the Jets, and their boss. The women alleged that Favre ogled and propositioned them via text, and that the Jets didn’t re-hire them after they complained. A Manhattan judge refused to dismiss the case, which meant Favre would have to be deposed. He eventually settled for an undisclosed sum and also succeeded in getting most of the court records related to the case placed under seal.
Favre was inducted two years ago into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he still makes the occasional television appearance as a Wise Old Football Man. As with Kobe Bryant, whose new ESPN television show debuted last week, Favre’s conduct has largely been forgotten. After the Post published its report about Favre’s ESPN tryout, the Big Lead brought up the Decker incident, though there was no mention of the subsequent lawsuit from the two other women, or the settlement.
What seems clear is that ESPN reached out to Favre. What’s less clear is why the Worldwide Leader would want Favre as the celebrity face of one of its biggest recurring live sports programs. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment.