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I-Spy #6: Brett Favre Back in the Dog House

October 22, 2010

Crisis:  NFL Hall-of-famer Brett Favre accused of sending X-rated photos and messages to NY Jets sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger.  The NFL is currently investigating Favre’s case and, if found guilty, Favre could face suspension and a sexual harassment lawsuit.                       

Principle:Tell the truth.”

          Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was recently accused of sending racy text messages, voice mails and photos to the cell phone of NY Jets sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger.  And in classic Tiger Woods style, the rumors spread like wildfire all over the media.  Favre, a married father of two and grandfather of one, allegedly sent Sterger the inappropriate messages during his brief 2008 season with the Jets.  Several weeks after the claims were made, Favre reportedly admitted to NFL officials that he did in fact leave voicemail messages on Sterger’s phone, but he denied sending photos.

            And this isn’t Brett’s first PR-crisis rodeo.  In the mid ‘90s Favre admitted to being addicted to Vicodin and traded in his football season for a two-month stay in rehab.  Several years later, the quarterback confessed that he had become an alcoholic and, once again, had to hang up his helmet and sober up in rehab. In 2007, his wife, Deanna Favre, wrote a book revealing her struggles with her husband’s behavior and the damage it had on their marriage.  Needless to say, Favre lost his sterling reputation as the all-American dad that he began his career with.

          In my opinion, Favre may want switch sports for a moment and consider a concept found in America’s other favorite pastime: “three strikes—you’re out!”  With a track record like his, it’s going to be pretty difficult to maintain the trust from his sponsors, the NFL and his fans.  History tells us that the QB has a problem with self-control, so why should we believe him again when he tells us that he’s going to clean up his act once and for all? 

           Rather than coming clean, confronting the accusations head on and putting it behind him, Favre continues to say very little about the Steger scandal.  This is a PR mistake because by not taking control of the story and setting the facts straight, he is leaving room for even more media speculation which, in turn, leads to increased coverage on the matter. 

           Favre needs to take a time out and consider the winning PR strategies recently implemented by Woods, Vick and Jeeter.  All of these all-star athletes were caught red-handed, yet managed to get back in the game after manning up and telling the truth.  If Favre wants to retire without the reputation of being a heavy-drinking womanizing drug-addict, then he needs to cut the bologna, listen to Mr. Page and tell the truth.

Question for the Class:  Do you think the “three-strike” policy applies to a person’s credibility    when making a public apology?  Or will the public always respond positively when the truth comes out?

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