Brett Favre sues Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee for defamation
Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre fights back.
Former quarterback implicated in scandal over alleged misappropriation of Mississippi welfare funds for months sued Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharp and Pat McAfee for defamation based on what they allegedly said about him in connection with the welfare situation in Mississippi.
“Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee tried to continue their careers by making baseless slanderous allegations against Brett Favre,” Favre’s spokesman told DailyMail.com.
In my opinion, this is somewhat hyperbolic. Sharpe and McAfee do a great job on their own. They don’t have to supposedly lie about someone who hasn’t played in a decade to elevate their career.
The alleged slander, frankly, stems from a failure to exercise caution when speaking of Favre’s situation. He has always maintained that he does not know the source of funding for payments made to both him and the University of Southern Mississippi. He also was not prosecuted. Whenever discussing Favre’s situation, it is important to point this out.
Sharp, according to an article about the lawsuit, allegedly called Favre a “scum” on FS1 in September 2022, and also accused Favre of intentionally stealing $1.1 million from Mississippi Social Security funds for speeches that Favre never made. McAfee allegedly accused Favre of “stealing from the poor of Mississippi”.
“Every time his name is mentioned, we have to mention that he tied the hands of the poor and took money straight out of their pockets,” McAfee said of Favre in a lawsuit report.
It is always difficult to prove libel to a public figure. Favre would have to show that Sharpe and McAfee acted with malicious intent, which in this context means proving that they knew or should have known that the statements were false.
Also, when it comes to proving legal damages, Favre will have to show damage to his existing reputation. Which calls into question everything that has to do with his existing reputation. This opens the door to an in-depth analysis of what he did or did not do in relation to his interactions with Jenn Sterger, including but not limited to the $50,000 fine the NFL imposed on Favre for refusing to cooperate with its internal investigation.
Indeed, any dubious and / or illegal actions in which Favre was involved become the subject of legal proceedings. Also, the fact that truth is an absolute defense against defamation gives Sharpe and McAfee the right to investigate whether Favre really did what they say.
For these reasons, Favre should have left things as they are. He gave Sharpe and McAfee carte blanche to look into every nook and cranny of Favre’s life, to either prove that the claims they made were true, or to show that he didn’t have a good reputation before their comments were made, or both.