Favre’s Lips Are Sealed After “Out-of-Bounds” Texts

We thought the “sexting” epidemic only afflicted hormonally-charged, pubescent teens. Then the Brett Favre scandal hit newsstands across the nation.

Allegedly, the 41-year-old Minnesota Vikings quarterback has been making passes both on the field and off; Jenn Sterger, a former New York Jets sideline reporter and Playboy Bunny, claims Favre sent her unsolicited nude self-portraits via text message.

Whether or not Sterger’s claims are true, they’ve created yet another sports celebrity scandal. Some PR professionals, like Glenn Selig, founder of The Publicity Agency, doubt the scandal will be devastatingly detrimental to Favre’s fan base. Selig said the football legend’s long and successful career will cushion him from losing too many fans; however, Favre’s lack of response to Sterger’s accusations will only raise eyebrows and fuel suspicions.

While the judicial system operates on the “innocent until proven guilty” principle, our society tends to assume the guilt of celebrities in scandals like this. As Selig said, Favre “will need to respond or people will believe it is him.”

Favre should learn from past PR mistakes of other sports celebrities, like Tiger Woods. Almost a year ago, Woods made no comment after news broke of his reputation-damaging domestic disturbance, and his silence caused an even greater uproar among fans and media.

However, Favre remains mum, even as the NFL begins investigations into claims that a Jets employee acted as an intermediary between Favre and Sterger — allegations that could lead to sexual harassment charges and more serious legal action.

By saying nothing, Favre allows the media to take control of the story and the fans to think what they will — however untrue it may be.

The quarterback’s best PR play at this point is to come out and tell the truth. It doesn’t matter what the truth is or how Favre releases it; the only way to begin combating the negative press around this scandal is to deal with it directly before it inflicts permanent damage on his reputation — and his football legacy.

What’s your advice for Mr. Favre?

By Caroline Beard

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3 Comments

Filed under Leadership, The Industry

3 responses to “Favre’s Lips Are Sealed After “Out-of-Bounds” Texts

  1. Good post, Caroline.

    The problem with this is it came out on a website that is well known for being brash, and let’s face it, without reservations. Why address something that Ms. Sterger will not actually come out and say happened? On top of this… we are dealing with rumors. You address one rumor, you’ll be addressing them forever, sexual or otherwise.

    We all know that instead of listening to a PR person, athletes like Favre are taking counsel from a lawyer. Any admission of guilty or innocence can be used against him. He knows this and most likely why he’s not saying anything.

  2. Valid points, Jason. That site isn’t exactly the most reputable of sources, and the writer responsible for the initial story supposedly betrayed what Sterger believed to be anonymity.

    And you’re right, Favre is likely heeding the advice of a lawyer at this point, especially with the NFL investigating claims. It’s a tough balance to strike for someone in his position; by keeping silent, you avert legal trouble (at least temporarily) but anger and confuse fans.

    Nobody ever said being a pro football quarterback and Wrangler’s spokesperson was easy, though…

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Emily

    I agree with Jason.

    Although for Farve’s reputation it would be best for him to make some sort of statement addressing the situation, more than likely he will follow what his lawyers suggest him to do.

    The issue of the contradictions of legal advice and public relations advice is always interesting to look into. With scandals such as this with athletes and celebrities the balance between the two areas usually does come to a head.

    It will be interesting to see where Bret Favre, his lawyers and publicists take this issue. I believe for his reputation’s sake it might be beneficial for him to make some sort of a statement on the matter, not necessarily addressing the validity of the allegations, but just addressing the issue in general to make him seem like he is not hiding information thus making him look guilty.

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