NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday that the league would fine Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre $50,000 for failing to cooperate with an investigation into whether he sent sexually explicit text messages to a New York Jets employee in 2008. In a statement, Goodell said that forensic evidence could not establish that Favre sent the incriminating texts, so the quarterback did not definitively violate league policy. Favre only drew a punishment because he was "not candid in several respects during the investigation," which began when sports website Deadspin broke the story in July. Did the fading superstar, perhaps on the verge of retirement, deserve a more severe penalty? Or did the punishment fit the alleged act?
This ruling isn't surprising: Favre is getting a pass, says Pete Prisco at CBS Sports. This looks like the NFL is "allowing a star to walk off into the sunset without a black mark on his resume." But "did we expect any different?" With one week left in his career, "what's the point of suspending him now?" All that would do is "tarnish his legacy," and "who needs a creep showing up for Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions?"
"Favre off easy"
Goodell handled things shrewdly: The commissioner was in the "difficult spot of trying to investigate a future Hall of Fame player who had no public record of prior misconduct," says Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports — while at the same time trying to enforce the NFL's "precious personal conduct policy." The middle ground of a fine was a "smart solution" to the problem, "even if some people will inevitably criticize Goodell for leniency."
"Goodell finds clever way to settle Favre mess"
The NFL should continue its investigation: "The league's ruling leaves more questions than answers," says Sean Gregory at Time. Clearly, the NFL thinks the quarterback "lied and failed to cooperate" with its probe, so "why conclude the investigation and just slap Favre with a fine," and a paltry one at that? "If the NFL is truly upset about Favre lying to an employer during a workplace harassment investigation," the league should have imposed a stiffer penalty — and continued its investigation to find out what actually happened.
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