Sunday, October 10, 2010
Updated: October 11, 12:10 PM ET
Source: Brett Favre review on fast track
By Chris Mortensen
The NFL is aggressively investigating allegations that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre sent inappropriate messages and photos to a former Jets employee, according to a source familiar with the league's review.
The investigation is on a fast track and commenced Thursday, the same day that Deadspin.com posted voice messages and salacious photos that Favre allegedly sent to Jenn Sterger when both were employed by the New York Jets in 2008.
Sterger is reportedly willing to cooperate, but has not yet spoken with NFL investigators.
Sterger's manager, Phil Reese, has said his client "did not provide Deadspin with any information." And a Deadspin editor said it paid a third party for the material and acknowledged it's possible the man who sent the voice mails and photos may not be Favre.
A source said the NFL also wants to interview one and possibly both massage therapists who were reportedly sent inappropriate text messages by Favre. One of the therapists, who are contracted by the team, told Deadspin.com about the texts.
A source said that NFL security officials will meet with Favre if they are provided evidence that the allegations have merit.
When asked by ESPN at a "Monday Night Football" production meeting, Favre would not directly comment on the allegations but said neither he nor his agent had been contacted by the NFL about the matter.
"My main focus is the New York Jets, they are a tough team; as good as they are that has been my focus," Favre told ESPN. "I hate in any way if this has been a distraction as I said Thursday -- we are here focused on trying to beat the Jets."
When asked about the accuracy of the reports, Favre told ESPN, "That will take its course."
Favre added that he would have "no problem with talking to the commissioner" if he is asked.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that the league is looking into the allegations.
"We are going through that and we are making sure we understand all the facts," Goodell said at halftime of the Chargers-Raiders game.
Goodell added once the investigation is complete, "we'll make a determination from there."
Once the NFL completes its investigation, the source said any disciplinary action warranted under the personal conduct policy -- including suspension -- will occur "as soon as possible."
If Favre is suspended under the personal conduct policy, he will have 10 days to appeal and the suspension would not be enforced until after the appeal is heard. But Goodell is not a proponent of prolonged appeal processes once he has handed out disciplinary action under the personal conduct policy.
Under a worst-case scenario, Favre could have his record of 288 consecutive regular-season starts halted by a ban.
Under the personal conduct policy, the commissioner has wide latitude in disciplinary matters. Even a first-time violator can face suspension if he is determined to have damaged the reputation and the integrity of the NFL. The policy also does not hold any favor for marquee players -- two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger just returned from a four-game suspension even though he was not charged in a criminal case involving allegations of improper conduct in a Georgia bar earlier this year.
Given the public fallout from Roethlisberger's situation, Favre's public perception could change -- something Favre admitted concerns him.
"It [Favre's reputation] has always been important to me," Favre told ESPN. "That was one of the first questions I answered when I signed here [Minnesota]. Sure it is important to me, it has always been a concern."
Vikings coach Brad Childress said he talked with Favre about the NFL investigation and that the Deadspin reports have not been a distraction for the team.
"We just talk about what's out there and look it right in the eye and deal with it to the extent we can," Childress said on Saturday. "It doesn't affect anybody else in this locker room, except Brett Favre."
Favre, who turned 41 Sunday, is scheduled to start his 289th consecutive game Monday night against the Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
It has always been important to me. That was one of the first questions I answered when I signed here [Minnesota]. Sure it is important to me, it has always been a concern.
-- Brett Favre on if he's concerned if the reports may impact his reputation