Chicago Bears fans always had plenty of good reasons to hate Brett Favre. Most of them had to do with him breaking their hearts for almost two decades during his Hall of Fame career with the Green Bay Packers. His domination of the team in the 1990s and early 2000s equated to torture. He wasn’t afraid to rub their noses in it too. That is why nobody wept when Corey Wootton basically ended his career that frigid night in Minnesota in 2010.
By the time he finally walked off into the sunset, Favre had made over $ 140 million in his NFL contracts. That isn’t counting the millions more he received in endorsements for his widespread popularity as one of the most beloved professional athletes on the North American continent. He’d crafted a beautiful public image of a fun-loving good old boy from Mississippi that brought joy back to the game of football.
Fans ate it up for years and years. One would think he could’ve lived off that popularity for the rest of his life, never needing money again. As is too often the case in this day and age, greed can be an ugly thing. Before he retired, there were warning signs that Favre wasn’t the “aw shucks” guy he liked everybody to think he was. There was a darker side.
He backed a politician in Thad Cochrane, who actively used the desk of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Allegedly he sexted a female reporter in 2008 while being married. Now it appears he’s taken things a step further. According to Anna Wolf of Mississippi Today, Favre is being accused of steering taxpayer money meant for welfare to his own personal projects.
It doesn’t sound good.
Favre said a nonprofit director Nancy New gave him $ 5 million in grant funds to build a volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi – a payment that could be part of the forthcoming civil litigation. A pharmaceutical company Favre backed, called Prevacus, also ended up receiving $ 2.15 million in allegedly stolen funds from the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The quarterback collected an additional $ 1.1 million welfare dollars personally…
… With the drug company investment, the volleyball arena and other payouts, at least $ 8 million in misspending auditors identified within Mississippi’s larger welfare scandal stemmed from Favre’s requests or fees. New’s nonprofit, called Mississippi Community Education Center and primarily funded by MDHS, directly paid Favre more than $ 1 million to be a spokesman for the Families First for Mississippi program. He’s since returned those funds, but the auditor says Favre still owes $ 228,000 in interest on the money he improperly received…
… While Favre has said he didn’t know the funding he received was from a program that is supposed to help the poor, text messages obtained by Mississippi Today show he knew he was dealing in government grants. Favre has not been accused of a crime within the scheme and declined to interview with Mississippi Today. ”
Think about that.
Favre used his fame to press buddies in Mississippi politics to help line his pockets with more money, actively taking it away from people that needed it far more than he did. Ebeneezer Scrooge would’ve balked at that kind of avarice. It serves as a reminder that it isn’t always wise to buy the public image of a person as the real thing. Too often, it becomes clear they are far different behind closed doors. Bill Cosby, Bobby Fischer, Joe Paterno, and Lance Armstrong are a few examples.
That is the territory Brett Favre is drifting into these days. His prestigious football career can’t protect him if he continues to make monumentally bad decisions like this. As time goes on, he’ll become more remembered as the guy who stole money from the poor rather than the guy who threw a ball really well. If Bears fans found it hard to hate the man before, there shouldn’t be any issues with it now.
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