I am sure you know my position on the Favre/Sterger thing if you read my other article back in October. It was actually my first-ever article for this site. Here's a link if you need a refresher.
At least that's what I got out of what I read today when I heard about their decision. They fined Brett Favre $50,000 for "failure to cooperate."
Translation: The NFL could not find any actual evidence that Favre violated the league's conduct policy, but they fined him anyways because if they spent two months and did nothing, it would look bad.
Imagine if this was any other occupation. You are accused of sexual harassment or stealing or anything. Your company launches a big investigation, then they come back to you and say, well, we couldn't find any evidence that you broke any rules, but we are docking you a month's pay simply because we feel like you made things hard on us.
That would be ridiculous and you would be outraged, right?
I understand Favre has the money, and I'm not about to cry about the amount of the fine or imply he can't pay it. I'm sure Favre will pay it without fighting it simply because he wants this issue to be over with and $50,000 to him is nothing.
However, I will say what the league really told us today:
Roger Goodell, you are the biggest coward in the history of sports. You spent two months investigating this issue, only to realize you had no evidence to punish Favre since you could not actually prove anything. It was a classic case of "he said, she said" and you know it, yet you took the easy way out.
Goodell came out and said the league could not conclude that Favre violated the league's personal conduct policy, and he also said they could not prove that the pictures Sterger received were from Favre.
Goodell then fined Favre $50,000 for "failure to cooperate" but could not explain how exactly he did not cooperate. Favre met with NFL officials when asked to, and, from what had been reported, fully cooperated with the league's investigation.
From what I understand, Favre admitted to the league he sent voicemails but denied that he ever sent Sterger photos. The voicemails simply said he wanted to see Sterger but were not sexual in nature and did not have anything in them that violated any league rules.
Roger Goodell and the FBI investigators hired by the league could not find any evidence to refute Favre's statement. They could find no evidence that Favre did anything that would break any NFL rules.
So the conclusion should have been: Favre did not violate the personal conduct policy. Period.
Instead, he got a fraudulent fine, simply because Goodell is scared of looking bad to the "politically correct" police. Goodell is scared that, if he did nothing, he would be perceived as being soft or siding with Favre, or risk Sterger's camp being angry or threatening legal action.
Yet the only correct ruling was to do nothing. His investigation concluded nothing.
Here's a wild thought: Maybe, just maybe, the investigation could not prove Favre violated the league's personal conduct policy because Favre did not actually violate it.
This country was founded on innocent until proven guilty, yet time and time again, the media, the public, and apparently the NFL spit on that concept. Favre should have been presumed innocent, and since there is no evidence to show guilt, then he is innocent.
So why was he fined? He was fined because Roger Goodell is really the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz. He is the kid in the school yard who is scared to stand up for himself.
Goodell did not have the guts to stand up for one of the league's marque players, and to actually say that the league found Favre did not violate the rules. He couldn't say that for the simply reason that he has no guts. Zero. He may as well change his name to Roger Goodgutless.
Goodell did not want to get into a legal battle because he's a coward. He waited this long to say what he knew weeks ago because he is a coward. The NFL is more and more becoming a league of cowards.
You aren't allowed to hit a receiver trying to catch the ball anymore (defenders get flagged for even legal hits nowadays), games are being moved due to snow, you aren't allowed to celebrate a touchdown anymore, and the NFL launches investigations that conclude someone did not break the rules, then fine them anyway.
I have been increasing frustrated with all these changes and I thought it was because of society, but now I realize, it's not society, it's the coward running the NFL.
We may as well rename the NFL the "Politically Correct Football League" or the "Coward's Football League"
Goodell is proving he has no backbone, and that he will cave to any pressure laid on him by anyone about anything. He won't stand up for any player or the league if push comes to shove because he is scared.
I think I'm going to call the league and complain about something, I bet I can get Goodell to change a rule!