Our news has been image-driven since Kennedy and Nixon debated on television in 1960. Fifty years later, mouse clicks and pageviews are powered by what flashes, allures and titillates.
So it’s no surprise that the Brett Favre sexting story still centers on Jenn Sterger. The phone messages and sausage shots were sent to her, and the burgeoning scandal originated with Deadspin’s reporting of her involvement. Cheesecake photos of her in her underwear and displaying her phony cleavage, however, are keeping eyes off the second accuser.
Which is unfortunate, since the account from the former Jets’ masseuse is actually worse.
There’s no harrumphing dismissal of unreliable internet-site reporting with this one, either (though that reflexive response from confused, scared old J-schoolers lessens with each big story), since it was printed (!) in the New York Post.
The paper describes “…a seamy stream of phone calls, “e-mails and texts from Favre saying, ‘Why don’t you and your friend come over . . . I have all these bad intentions. ” according to her furious husband.”
And the confrontation that ensued:
“I called Favre back myself,” the hubby said. “I was looking for an apology.”
But he didn’t get one. “I feel like this guy tried to screw my [expletive] family,” the husband said. “He’s a [expletive] scumbag.”
The husband told Deadspin, “I called him on his phone and told him I wanted an apology. He acted all arrogant. He refused to apologize.”
The woman says she saved some of the lewd messages from Favre.
So what’s more serious — Favre lusting clumsily after buxom, single, team-employed sideline candy (who rightly brushed him off as the old weirdo he is), or stalking a married team contractor and refusing to back down when confronted by the enraged husband?
And his level of stupidity is mind-boggling. One of the league’s best-known players — in the nation’s craziest media beehive, mind you — was leaving a multiplatform paper trail of text, audio and video. The only explanation is that he had been doing this free of consequence in the quiet of the Wisconsin woods for some time, amid fawning, cud-chewing fans. All while his wife was selling books about her battle with cancer.
(Sorta changes the ending of “There’s Something About Mary,” huh? As several emailers to the show have pointed out, a movie about competing sexual creeps now unwittingly features another)
Another significant facet to this involves the media behemoths so intertwined with the promotion of Favre and the NFL that they find themselves in knots trying to handle the news. The symbolism was not lost on many last night: Mike Tirico presiding over Vikings/Jets — one serially-accused sex-stalker (suspended three months for it by ESPN) describing the actions of another.
Time will tell if more Favre-sext-recipients emerge waving evidence, like the steady eruption of Tiger Woods’ tawdry conquests. The league will likely try to put a neat cap on things with a fine or one-game suspension.
But don’t let the availability of Sterger’s preening photos distract from the more serious aspects of an ongoing story.