The story continues to unfold about Brett Favre, former QB of the Green Bay Packers (whose fans now insist he was QB of the Vikings last. Sorry, poor attempt at humor). He made sure funds were earmarked from the state to go to two pet projects of his. One was to the University of Southern Mississippi (his alma mater) and another pot of gold to a startup he in which he was an investor.
Correction: in directing state funds, what ended up happening was those dollars were funneled from a pot intended to help the poorest of the poor. And, yes, he knew about it.
Whether he faces additional trouble for his ties to the scammers involved in state welfare funds remains to be seen. That hasn’t stopped a robust trial in the court of public opinion, with proceedings that seem to get worse with each passing week. First with clear allegations in court filings that welfare funds landed in the laps of at least two of Favre’s pet projects: a volleyball building at the University of Southern Mississippi, and a biomedical startup that counted the quarterback as an investor and endorser. Then with batches of curious text messages showing a working relationship between Favre and some individuals wrapped up in the largest welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi history.
And now with this week’s precarious question: Why Favre’s own charity, Favre 4 Hope, donated nearly $130,000 to the University of Southern Miss Athletic Foundation, while espousing a mission of collecting donations to help “underserved and disabled children in Mississippi and Wisconsin.” According to public tax records, the Athletic reported that same charity donated the lion’s share of its disbursements to the USM Athletic Foundation, to the tune of nearly $130,000 from 2018-2020. If that timeframe sounds familiar, it’s because it also covers the same period when Favre was reportedly leaning on state officials in Mississippi for the Southern Miss volleyball project funds.
But what is the public worried about? How much time Favre would serve for committing a crime like this? Oh NOOOOO! Sports writers everywhere are considering how tarnished his football legacy will be and how sports history will consider him.
Favre’s football legacy is being overwritten as we speak. The picture is widening into something much more human and the questions that come along with it are disturbing. If anything, his football resume now looks like a leverage point that he used to engage in manipulation.
The poor were exploited in favor of the powerful and no one is talking jail time. Why? Because we accept the exploitation part and stroke our chins in deep thought as to what this means for the “legacy” of a man who made millions for throwing a football.
It is a devastating commentary not on Favre… but on us.