For the better part of his 20 years in the NFL, Brett Favre’s story was tailor-made for a Middle America who pounces on blue-collar football heroes.
We learned about his formative years at the Little Kiln of Mississippi, a city defined by the boom of the lumber industry, destroyed by the Great Depression, then sustained by decades of illegal moonshine ingenuity. We heard about Favre being raised by a pair of schoolteachers, then his serious pursuit as a high school football player, while being coached by his father, Irwin Favre. And of course, we heard about football handicaps, Favre rarely showing a massive hand despite being lucky in a solo scholarship offer from southern Mississippi to run an ill-fitting wishbone offense that would eventually make him pro football. Will be sent to the Hall of Fame.
All of this will be part of Favre’s tapestry as he carved out his two-decade illustrious NFL career, which includes one Super Bowl win, three straight league MVPs, countless passing records upon his retirement, an Iron Man streak for consecutive starts, one of the most successful of all time. unlikely to ever break out, and a relentless high tide of “Gunslinger” praise from John Madden and seemingly every other football analyst ever glared at him.
He was an exciting talent at the center of an iconic Green Bay franchise, the kind of player who garnered national media attention and quickly made friends with some important journalists. While fitting the mold of the league’s favorite historical object: the easy-to-sell white quarterback during the cable television era that would propel the NFL’s popularity into the space.
For most of his career, this was a defining part of the Brett Favre story. Since then, a lot has changed in the world. And with that, perhaps a small part of our perspective on the type of hero worship that often hides something unnatural behind it.
The frustrating reality for many is simple: As we’ve progressed through Favre’s career, it’s been challenging to keep up with the character questions surrounding her. And never more than this week, when detailed reporting on a welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi is rendering Favre either blatantly incompetent or downright dishonest.
If you haven’t followed the work of Mississippi Today, you should. The general profile of Favre’s alleged involvement is around the millions of dollars in welfare funds that were improperly diverted to build a volleyball stadium at Favre’s alma mater, Southern Miss (where Favre’s daughter was also a volleyball player). Reportingly, Favre denied ever speaking to former Mississippi governor Phil Bryant about the stadium, denied knowing where the money for the project came from, and generally denied any wrongdoing. .
Problem? Texts have surfaced from Bryant that reference an alleged meeting with Favre about the project, as well as other texts featuring the former NFL quarterback allegedly asking an executive involved in a fraud scheme if the media would ever It will be able to determine where the stadium project money came from or how much money was given.
Best of all, it makes Favre look like he has something important to explain. At worst, he looks like a liar who played a part in taking away millions of dollars from the poorest Mississippians to build a volleyball stadium. Somewhere in the midst of all this lies a question about rights, politics and how the rich and influential manipulate the system to steal tax dollars earmarked for some of America’s most needy people.
So which one? We need to know, because hanging in the balance is Favre’s good ol’ Mississippi reputation, which (until recently) has always framed him as the small-town kid who made it big and never forgot his roots. The man who still maintains his home in America’s poorest state and has statues outside his high school stadium and inside the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. A classically embracing tale of an athlete who rose to the highest peaks and then returned home and invested in the many people he could not take with him.
Now looking back, it would be great to know how true this really was. But there’s also another troubling part of all this—the reality is that Favre has skated over a number of questionable issues over the years while maintaining his largely less-than-coveted stature in the NFL.
Lest we forget, in the final weeks of his career, the NFL said Favre failed to fully cooperate with the league investigation into whether he sent former New York Jets employee Jen Starger several unsolicited photos of his penis, While both were with the team in 2008. In 2010, the NFL fined Favre $50,000 in the wake of that investigation. Stargar certainly hasn’t forgottencomment on Favre’s latest issue Tuesday with a series of tweets that included: “Oh.. now he gets in trouble for inappropriate texts.”
Then in 2008 there was a 2013 civil settlement over a lawsuit brought by two massage therapists in response to allegedly sexually suggestive text messages with the Jets. or questionable business deals, a bankrupt digital sports media company Sqor (which was eventually thrown out, but not until Favre was named as one of the defendants in a fraud lawsuit brought by an investor was); And in another case, the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation of Rx Pro, a brand heavily backed by Favre, later came under scrutiny for statements made about pain-relieving creams not approved by the FDA. it was done.
Of course, there is much more beyond the legal scope. You made all kinds of eyebrow-raising statements to Favre, like the constant “thousands” of jerks during his playing career, to telling Peyton Manning that he didn’t know what a nickel defense was in the NFL until he Didn’t ask tie dater to reveal. To Peter King that he went to rehab three times in his career for substance abuse issues.
From a football standpoint, it has been interesting to see how the public has absorbed those “revelations,” and it’s natural to wonder how it would play out if any Russell Wilson or a comparable black quarterback ever said the same things. Never mind the other football-related oddities that circled Favre, such as his frequent retirements or off-seasons that left the Packers wondering whether they’d have a quarterback next season. Or the time he gifted his friend Michael Strahan an NFL single-season sack record that basically undermined the legitimacy of a coveted achievement. Or one of the forgotten hits, when Jay Glazer revealed that Favre had given Detroit Lions general manager Matt Milne intelligence on the Packers during Favre’s season with the Jets. Favre, of course, denied this.
These are all just a few examples of the static that seems to have followed Favre over the years. None of it seems clean, or resembles an immaculate reputation or character. Time will tell whether investigations into fraud in Mississippi have more layers, or whether the texts that have come to light ultimately shape Favre’s historical perspective as a person.
For now, the decisions are left to the beholder. But it’s worth noting that at least one person who spent a lot of time sorting out Favre seems to have come up with a solid and clear opinion. That would be Jeff Perlman, a respected author, who has written several New York Times bestsellers and who in 2016 considered the most important biography about Favre: “Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre.”
It is revealed that Perlman has some thoughts after the release of text messages tying Favre to the Mississippi welfare fraud investigation.
as he put it to his tuesday Twitter account: “On the day of the Extended Favre Revelations, I want to share something: I wrote a biography of a man who shone quite a bit. Football heroism, overcoming obstacles, practical clowns, etc. Yes, it includes his grossness, addictions, Treatment of women was involved. But it was quite positive. And, looking at it now, if I’m being brutally honest – I’d advise people not to read it. He’s a bad guy. He doesn’t deserve the icon treatment. He deserves praise. Image rehabilitation. Hot stories of grid glory. His treatment [Jenn Sterger] was … unforgivable.”
This isn’t exactly the synopsis for Central America’s love affair with a soccer player. But it may also be the truest conclusion about this version of hero worship being wrong.