EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Brett Favre was fined $50,000 by the NFL for failing to cooperate with its investigation of inappropriate messages and lewd photos he allegedly sent to a former Jets game-day employee.
Commissioner Roger Goodell "could not conclude" that Favre violated the league's personal conduct policy based on the evidence currently available to him.
The league said forensic analysis failed to establish that the 41-year-old Minnesota Vikings quarterback sent objectionable photographs to Jenn Sterger. "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," its statement announcing the fine said.
The NFL said its sole focus was on whether Favre violated workplace conduct policy, not to "make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships."
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 league said. The NFL's investigation began in early October.
The commissioner also told Favre that if he had found a violation of the league's workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a "substantially higher level of discipline."
Favre's fine will help fund a new training program on workplace conduct around the NFL, Goodell said in a memo sent to clubs yesterday, though for Favre the penalty is a pittance. Even while sitting out of Tuesday's game at Philadelphia because of post-concussion symptoms, Favre essentially earned $50,000 over about 5 minutes of action.
Sterger's attorney, Joseph Conway, said that "my client and I are extremely disappointed, but not surprised" by the ruling. He added that they "strongly disagree" with Goodell's finding of insufficient evidence to show a violation of league policy.
"It clearly shows that an NFL star player was given preferential treatment and tells all other players that failure to cooperate may cost you some money but will not result in other punishment," said Conway, who added there was "ample evidence" the photos were of Favre.