Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, whose 20-year NFL career is expected to come to an end with Sunday's regular-season finale, has been fined $50,000 at the conclusion of an NFL investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed former New York Jets employee Jenn Sterger.
However, the fine does not come for sexual harassment or any other violation of the league's personal-conduct policy. Instead, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined Favre for his refusal to cooperate with the league investigation.
"On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct," the NFL said in its official announcement. "The forensic analysis could not establish that Favre sent the objectionable photographs to Sterger. The review found no evidence to contradict the statements of both Favre and Sterger that they never met in person, nor was there anything to suggest that Sterger engaged in any inappropriate conduct.
"However, Commissioner Goodell also determined that Favre was not candid in several respects during the investigation, resulting in a longer review and additional negative public attention for Favre, Sterger, and the NFL. The commissioner notified Favre that he has been fined $50,000 for his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner. Commissioner Goodell stated to Favre that if he had found a violation of the league's workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a substantially higher level of discipline."
That's a surprise finding, and a way for the NFL to have it both ways -- the league office can say it cracked down on Favre but does so without acknowledging that Favre sent the sexually explicit text messages he's accused of sending.
Sterger has still not spoken publicly about the allegations. The two-year statute of limitations for a sexual harassment case against Favre has come and gone, as the last contact between the two of them came at the end of the 2008 season.
Favre has said repeatedly that he will not play in 2011. If he's medically cleared to play on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, he will take the field for the last time then.
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