By Barry Wilner/The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Brett Favre has been fined $50,000 by the NFL for a “failure to cooperate” with the investigation into allegations he sent inappropriate messages and lewd photos to former New York Jets game-day hostess Jenn Sterger.
The league said Commissioner Roger Goodell “could not conclude” that Favre violated the league’s personal conduct policy based on the evidence currently available to him.
“The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger,” the statement said. “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 determined 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 statement said. The league’s investigation began in October and the fine was announced Wednesday.
The NFL also reviewed media reports that Favre pursued two massage therapists who worked at the Jets’ facility in 2008, when Favre played for the team. But the league said that claim could not be substantiated because people with “potentially relevant information” declined to be interviewed or cooperate with investigators.
Reaching a conclusion in the case 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, the NFL’s statement said.
The allegations against the 41-year-old Minnesota Vikings quarterback surfaced on the website Deadspin, which posted a video Oct. 7 that included text messages and voicemails allegedly left by the quarterback for Sterger, including one in which he invites her to his hotel. The video ends with several below-the belt photos — said to be of Favre — which were allegedly sent to Sterger.
A former model who also appeared on the Versus television network, Sterger refused to speak on the record to the website. Weeks after the story broke, she talked with league investigators and cooperated fully, according to her manager.
The league said its sole focus was on whether Favre violated workplace conduct policy, not to “make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships.”
The NFL said its investigation included the following: “an analysis of publicly available reports; a series of interviews with knowledgeable individuals, including Sterger and Favre; a review of communications between the two furnished to our office; and independent forensic analysis of electronically stored material.”
The league also said the investigation was limited in several respects because the matter was not brought to its attention until two years after it allegedly occurred.