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Tamara Holder: The NFL continues to create dangerous off-the-field environments for their players — The NY Jets knew better than to hire Jennifer Sterger


Posted On: November 13, 2010 | By Tamara N. Holder

Published November 13, 2010, by Tamara Holder

Twitter:@tamaraholder & Instagram @tamara_holder

If Brett Favre retires this year, the football great will end his 20-year NFL career marred by a sex(less) scandal. That’s right, a sex(less) scandal.

In February of this year, during the height of the Tiger Woods sex scandal, Deadspin.com learned about another famous (and married) athlete who had an eye for other women: NFL quarterback Brett Favre.

Jennifer Sterger told them that in 2008, when she was the NY Jets sideline reporter and Favre was the team’s quarterback, Favre allegedly sent her scandalous messages. She preserved the evidence: a compilation of voicemails and racy texts, including a picture that he took of his winky while wearing Crocs. Sexy.

In August a secret deal was cut: Deadspin bought the images from an anonymous “third party.” In October the site published the pictures and voicemails online.

This story is pathetic on all levels.

The Jets are idiots

I’d like to know: who within the NY Jets thought it was a brilliant idea to hire an inexperienced, scantily clad, ripe-out-of-undergrad female to report from their sideline during home games?

Maybe the team thought their ratings would boost with a hottie chat about tackles and touchdowns to the viewers at home? There are plenty of women who are both hot and experienced who can talk sports. Sterger, however, had no experience in sports commentary. If the team wanted eye candy, surely they could have sought out a female ESPN or Fox Sports analyst or one of the many competent females in television. (Sterger was just a sexy student spotted in a bikini and a cowboy hat at 2005 Florida State game.)

The Jets set themselves up for this scandal. Not only should the Jets have considered Sterger’s experience (or lack thereof) more seriously, they should have also considered their risks by placing an attractive sex-symbol in an environment with their players. Surely, Sterger was not just on the sidelines for the eight home games; she presumably had access to the locker room and the training facility’s hallways.
Does a person who’s on a diet buy a huge chocolate cake? Hell no, the risk is too high.
The Jets’ decision to place Steger inside of testosterone-filled environment was absolutely stupid. The risk was too high.

Jennifer Sterger has an ulterior motive
Sterger has remained silent but what’s going on behind the scenes doesn’t add up. Remember, Deadspin stated she told them about the dirt she had on Favre then, of all publications, Deadspin is the first to report the story with the photos from an anonymous source. Come on, we ain’t stupid.

Interestingly between the time Deadspin learned of the secret and they posted the messages, the LA Times “Ministry of Gossip” blog interviewed Sterger about her feelings about the Tiger Woods scandal. She said, “I feel like at some point these guys need to be sat down and told, ‘Look, you’re not invincible’….For every dumb girl that’s willing to lay down for you, at some point there’s going to be one smart enough to know what to do with that.”

Was this interview Sterger’s signal that she was angry with Favre for thinking he’s invincible and thinking she’s dumb? Was this Sterger’s subliminal message that she was smart enough to “do something” with the evidence?

No woman should be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace; however, a victim of any workplace misconduct has a duty to report. Sterger did not report Favre’s behavior to the Jets, nor to the NFL.

Good-looking women are often the victims of unfairly sexist claims. On the other side of the argument, attractive women (and all women for that matter) have a duty to report workplace abuse in anticipation of a sexist attack. I am disgusted that she would not report this incident to her employer but instead, waited nearly two years to throw the dirt in public, on a website that thrives on juicy athletes gossip.

Why did she still have the messages from Favre? What was her reason for holding onto such easily deletable messages? Who saves a voicemail for two years? Who saves a text message for more than a few days?

I smell an ulterior motive…

Now what?

Earlier this week, Sterger, her attorney, Joseph Conway, and her manager, Phil Reese, met with the NFL at a secret location for nearly 3-hours. “We can confirm that a meeting took place with the NFL today and we cooperated fully by providing them with substantial materials in our possession,” Reese told the NY Post after the meeting. “We now await the NFL’s decision”

Sterger wasn’t required to meet with the NFL. This isn’t a criminal investigation, she was not under subpoena, nor is she any longer an employee of the league. In fact, she most likely violated the league’s employee code of conduct when she chose not to report the incident to the Jets in 2008.

The NFL must look at the culture of sports and understand that they cannot police their players’ off-the-field philandering. Around the same time last year, ESPN fired Steve Phillips when they learned of his affair with an assistant. I wrote:

Athletes and affairs are the perfect “marriage” – they go hand in hand. Fired over an affair? C’mon! Tell me when you want the list of names of athletes and their affairs…it goes on and on and on…why do we continue to act so shocked when a new affair emerges? America needs to get over the cheating scandals. Many people cheat, especially the rich and powerful. Why are we so consumed with where a man sticks his winky? That’s a man’s issue with his wife and nobody else. This year alone we’ve heard of three politicians’ affairs: John Ensign, Mark Sanford and John Edwards. We’ve also heard of Letterman’s affair, Madonna/”Stray-Rod”, and the list goes on.

The NFL must not discipline Brett Favre because Jennifer Sterger didn’t report the incident to the Jets nor or to the league, and he is no longer with the team. Furthermore, it was the Jets created the screaming-for-a-scandal environment.

Young and beautiful female reporters have a place inside of the NFL but everyone must play by the rules: Teams must hire experienced women; they women must play by the rules by behaving professionally and reporting possibly misconduct. The athletes must know that there are consequences for their behavior on and off the field because they never know who’s preserving the evidence against them.

This is how the story will end: the “investigation” will proceed through the remaining portion of the 2010 season, Favre will retire, the investigation will close, and Sterger will get some hush money in exchange for a contract of silence. The end.

* Correction: I originally posted: “This year alone we’ve heard of three Senators affairs: John Ensign, Mark Sanford and John Edwards.” I have since corrected the post.


Categories: ALL TIME FAVORITES | NFL | Tamara N. Holder

4 Responses to "Tamara Holder: The NFL continues to create dangerous off-the-field environments for their players — The NY Jets knew better than to hire Jennifer Sterger"

  1. Tamara Holder says:

    Thank you for pointing out my error!

  2. The NFL continues to create dangerous off-the-field environments ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  3. Carlgh says:

    It is simple extortion. Stegner should be charged with a premeditated crime. Paying her a dime of hush money sends the wrong message and of course she would not keep a payment (symbol of guilt) quiet.
    Tamara, thanks for reporting on this.


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