You’ve got to wonder if Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, is going to ask himself if it was worth it to bring back Brett Favre.
The Vikings are 1-2, and Favre is dealing a case of tendinitis in his throwing elbow as he approaches a Monday night game against the New York Jets, the team with whom he spent one season between the Green Bay Packers and the Vikings.
But that’s the good news. Favre is also dealing with – or maybe “avoiding” is a better word – the unseemly matter of whether he sent inappropriate photos of himself to a former in-house sideline reporter when he played for the Jets.
The web site Deadspin.com first reported the story about Favre and the woman, Jenn Sterger, which included several voicemails allegedly sent by Favre, but so far neither he nor the team is commenting. In fact, when he was asked about it recently, Favre said he had his hands full worrying about the Jets.
But the league has now decided to get involved and is investigating the matter, a league spokesman said, so it may well become a story Favre can’t avoid. If he sent unwanted voicemails and photos of his private parts, it can only be considered sexual harassment. That’s serious. (Peter King of SI.com and NBC Sports tweeted that Sterger will not pursue sexual harassment charges but will cooperate with the NFL’s investigation.)
Childress insists it’s not a distraction, although the fact the Vikings are playing the Jets clearly pushes the allegations into the headlines – and in New York, headlines can be big and broad and very, very bold.
“We just talk about what's out there and look it right in the eye and deal with it to the extent we can,” said Childress, who acknowledged having spoken with Favre about the investigation. “It doesn't affect anybody else in this locker room, except Brett Favre.”
Well, it does and it doesn’t. Players will eventually have to face questions about whether it’s a distraction, and that alone makes it one. What they say to each other away from prying eyes and ears is something else Favre may have to deal with.
He has enough troubles already. Through three games, Favre has thrown six interceptions and just two touchdown passes (in 90 attempts), and his 60.4 passer rating is lower than every quarterback in the league except Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen and Arizona’s Derek Anderson.
A big game Monday night might help Favre avoid attention about the alleged photos, but only for a short time. This story isn’t going away, no matter how Childress tries to make it so.
“I guess my experience is they are distractions if you allow them to be,” he said. “When you address it and talk about it all together, then you go forward.”