...And to be clear, that woman, is me! I'm not sure if this breaks some sort of "Sports Sisterhood" code but Jenn Sterger, the reporter at the center of Brett Favre's sexting scandal, is officially on my nerves.
In the beginning, it seemed like Sterger was the pawn in a sports blog's quest to be known for more than an unlimited supply of sideboob photos of Erin Andrews. Deadspin wanted to catch a major sports figure with his pants down, quite literally, and Sterger "innocently" provided them with all the ammo they needed to make it happen. But as the story unfolds and the NFL investigation winds down, Sterger no longer appears to be an unwilling participant in this sexting charade. It seems like Jenn is looking for a pay day... Tiger Woods mistress style!
Sterger has reportedly turned over all evidence she has to NFL officials that supposedly links Brett Favre to pictures of a pecker that were sent to her phone two years ago when she worked as a sideline reporter for the Jets. Favre's already admitted he was the one behind flirty voicemails that Sterger, for some reason, held on to which were later released. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Monday night that the NFL investigation is expected to wrap up this week and that Favre will likely not be suspended. Which means this long, national nightmare should soon be over... right? Well now, TMZ is reporting that Sterger's reps aren't satisfied. Phil Reese is quoted as saying Sterger has "provided extensive evidence that irrefutably proves there was harassment" and that "No matter what happens Jenn has all legal remedies, including going public."
Going public? Ummm... didn't she already do that when she had a supposedly "off the record" conversation with the editor of one of the biggest sports gossip sites in the world? And what about the voicemails and pictures? Wouldn't those have only made it to Deadspin if she released them? And when exactly did this become a harassment case? Did it take two years for Jenn Sterger to realize that getting pictures of a penis sent to your cell phone is, ya know, inappropriate? And while we're asking rhetorical, sarcastic questions, should it be assumed that this sudden interest in "legal justice" has nothing to do with the fact that Sterger was recently canned from her job at Versus and is thereby in need of a new source of income... even if Favre's the one signing the check?
Look, I'm all for taking scumbags to the bank when they do wrong but if Sterger truly felt as though she were the victim of harassment, it's hard to understand why she went about punishing her harasser two years after the initial incident while completely distancing herself from the accusations once they went public. Sterger's rep now claims she wants the NFL to "clear her name" but for the life of me, I can't understand how or why that would be the NFL's job. Furthermore, when exactly was she "defamed." I'm sure she can't possibly think losing a co-hosting gig on a really, really, terribly bad sports show, has more to do with a sexting scandal then the fact that it was a really, really, terribly bad sports show.
If Sterger felt like she had a legitimate harassment case, perhaps she should have pursued this through the appropriate legal channels to begin with, instead of letting it play out like an episode of Degrassi. And no, this isn't a case of "blaming the victim." It's that Sterger's gone out of her way, until now, to avoid the victim label. Instead of coming out and taking a hardline against Favre for what he's accused of doing, she essentially threw her hands up in a classic display of something we used to say as kids: "My name's Bennett, I'm not in it!"
I can only hope that this mess serves as an important lesson for other women in the industry on how not to pursue a potential harassment case. Even though Sterger's attorney claims she never asked for money, what else could she be after by threatening to go public once the NFL investigation is over? Here's a word of advice Jenn: fire your lawyers and mangers because what they have you engaged in reeks of extortion. Beyond that, the focus has now shifted from a pervy sports figure crossing the line to the classic tale of a so-called victim who seems more concerned with money and fame than doing the right thing.
Ugh... isn't there an island somewhere we can ship all of these people to and get them off the radar of sports relevance? Ah yes.. there is. And I believe it's commonly referred to as the Cincinnati Bengals.
Shaneika Dabney is a writer for the female football website Chicks in the Huddle. Her views and opinions are hers and hers alone and do not represent those of any media conglomerate stated or otherwise.