Favre-Sterger Sexting Scandal Achieves Mainstream Media Coverage


jenn sterger

I really wasn’t sure if the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger sexting scandal would get picked up the mainstream media. Sure, it’s plenty newsworthy, but given what I know of the sports promotional firm known as ESPN, and the horrible precedent they set within the industry, I figured the MSM might drop the ball once again. I thought it could be the sports media equivalent of the news media handling the run-up to the Iraq war.

Remember that? In 2002-03, the media establishment’s coverage of the upcoming Iraq invasion might be summed by this sentence:

“Everything Bush/Cheney/Condi/Rummy says is 100% right, never to be questioned, and if you don’t want to go to war this exact second you are a terrorist/communist/nazi/spineless pansy.”

And since the Minnesota Vikings QB is the closest thing we have to a sacrosanct omnipotent being in the NFL/sports, I was worried it would happen again.

Glad I’m wrong.

By Paul M. Banks


We begin with a Fanhouse piece “Sports Heavies Finally Stoop to covering Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger Controversy” echoing my concerns about why the MSM would fail again here…because they kind of already did two months ago:

The truth is that this story has been in play for more than two months, since Deadspin first ran it around the time teams were reporting for training camp. That it has just now exploded says a lot about the myth-making machinery attached to sports media and the NFL in general.

In fairness, ESPN is hardly the only NFL partner who has sat on its hands on the Favre piece. No one, not CBS, not FOX, not NBC and surely not the NFL Network, went near this piece before last week, when apparently two additional Favre-text recipients stepped forward.

Fanhouse again with a must-read piece “Brett Favre Shouldn’t Escape NFL Punishment if Allegations are True” by Dan Graziano

These two passages particularly jump out at me:

The specifics behind the relentless parade of NFL behavior cases — illegal gun possession, drunk driving, sexual harassment — are all serious issues in their own right. Taken together they illustrate the underlying problem, which is that these players, regardless of background or circumstances, are a bunch of arrogant clowns who think they can do anything they want and get away with it.

Agreed, Goodell’s attempts to legislate morality, a practice I’ve been calling out for sometime, are failing miserably. He needs to double down here, go-big or go-home, because it won’t work any other way.

They’re still role models, because fans still look up to them even though they shouldn’t. Goodell can’t afford a league peopled with scofflaws and boors. Moral issues aside, it’s simply bad for business…

…That’s why the Favre situation is an opportunity for the NFL. The league needs to hit him hard, and make a big, public deal of it. If the NFL punishes Favre, of all people, it’ll get more attention than any personal conduct decision ever has.

It’s true, although no one in their right mind over the age of 14 should have an athlete as their bonafide role model, many people do. In the instant information age, it’s even harder than ever to do so because our “heroes” are dropping like flies. Their have always been arrogant, spoiled douchebag jocks. Babe Ruth had his drinking, whoring, binge eating and reckless disregard for treating his STDs. Mickey Mantle had a BAC of approximately 45% most of the time. But very few people knew this at the time of their popularity. There weren’t blogs, camera phones, Flipshare camcorders and online news mediums to tell everyone all about it yet.

Also watch the NBC Today show clip about the scandal. It’s embedded at the end of the post and features beauty queen turned reporter Amy Robach.

USA Today reports that Brett Favre says he will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell if needed concerning the Jenn Sterger mess.

Goodell said Sunday that the league is looking for “facts” in its investigation. Deadspin and the New York Post also reported that Favre made inappropriate advances to two massage therapists who worked for the Jets.

If it finds fault on Favre’s part, Goodell could discipline him under the league’s personal-conduct policy.

Favre, who turned 41 on Sunday, indicated in August that this would be his last NFL season.

Covering this story can be heavy-slogging. It’s not all light-hearted subject matter befitting a Porky’s movie. There’s serious heavy news lifting to be done, and writing about it is big boy journalism. When criticizing Favre, or the frathouse that the New York Jets appear to be these days, you got to have a lot of thought process.

That’s why I love the work of Jason Whitlock. Love it! He gave us another gem at Fox Sports.com touching on all the issues of sexism and backwardness in gender relations in the NFL. The Favre-Sterger incident is forcing us to have these conversations, and I’m glad Whitlock is calling our attention to it.

When it comes to football, women put on short skirts, tight sweaters and carry pompoms. They grab our beer, fix our buffalo wings and look cute while reporting to us that the return of the player who limped off the field is questionable.

I know Snickers Bars that would feel denigrated being reduced to NFL eye candy…

…ESPN, ground zero for sports sexism, sexual harassment and eye-candy reporters, is going to lead our discussion today. The World Wide Leader will promote and broadcast tonight’s game.

Seriously, I feel sorry for Mike Tirico. Given what was reported about Tirico in Mike Freeman’s book “ESPN: The Uncensored History,” Tirico should call in sick tonight or recuse himself from the broadcast.

Hell, maybe ESPN should just roll with it and bring back Sean Salisbury to call the game alongside Tirico.

Be sure to read the whole piece here

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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