(Todd A. Smith)
Football great Brett Favre might just be a terrible human being.
And unfortunately, many people might have ignored it for far too long because of his Super Bowl ring and because he is a good ole boy.
Translation: People have ignored Favre’s transgressions because he was a country and conservative White boy in a sport dominated by inner city Black and Brown people.
Hall of Fame football star and co-star of “Undisputed” on FS1 Shannon Sharpe said it best when he told co-star Skip Bayless that this will not be the end of Favre appearing on national commercials and will not be the death nail for his image.
Sharpe said when people look like Favre, society often lets those people get away with anything.
Comedian Paul Mooney put even better.
Mooney would say that Favre has the complexion for the protection.
Therefore, his fans and supporters will make every excuse for his egregious behavior over the years, such as the sexually suggestive text messages that Favre sent to massage therapists when he played for the New York Jets.
Meanwhile, some of those same people might be the biggest critics of disgraced athletes like Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.
While Favre’s actions in the past have been bad like his addiction, his latest controversy is so selfish because it puts the people of the Magnolia State in danger.
Mississippi is the poorest state in the Union.
Nevertheless, Favre allegedly misappropriated millions of dollars meant to help poor people struggling on welfare just so that he could look like a philanthropist to the students, fans and alumni of his alma mater, University of Southern Mississippi.
“The notion of tens of millions of dollars that was intended by the country to go to the alleviation of poverty—and to see it going toward very different purposes—was very appalling to many of us,” said Brad Pigott, who was fired after he issued a subpoena to obtain more information about Favre’s role in the welfare scandal. “Mr. Favre was a very great quarterback, but having been a great NFL quarterback, he is not very well acquainted with poverty.”
Pigott, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton, was fired when he sued on behalf of Mississippi’s welfare agency.
The lawsuit named Favre and 37 other recipients who allegedly received the funds meant for the poor residents of Mississippi.
However, Pigott put most of the blame on politicians in Mississippi including former Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.
Pigott said, “Governor Bryant gave tens of millions of dollars of this TANF welfare money to a nonprofit led by a person whom he knew well and who had more connections with his political party than with the good people of Mississippi who have the heart and the skills to actually cajole people out of poverty or prevent teenage pregnancies.”
Ken Dilanian and Laura Strickler of NBC News reported, “The person in charge of the nonprofit Pigott was referring to is Nancy New, a close friend of Bryant’s wife. New and her son have pleaded guilty to state and federal charges and agreed to cooperate. New, a key player in doling out the money, said in a court document that Bryant was among those involved in directing the transactions.”
Favre, allegedly, took $7 million from the state to build a volleyball facility on the campus of Southern Miss and $2 million to help fund a business he invested in.
His daughter played volleyball for Southern Miss.
Allegedly, Favre received millions for giving speeches, which he never delivered.
The allegations could not have come out at a worse time for Favre and Mississippi because Jackson, Miss. is currently enduring a water crisis.
Poor infrastructure has led to bad pipes in Mississippi’s capital city.
Now, the water is unsafe to use.
Many residents of Jackson believe that the city was neglected after White flight led the city becoming predominantly Black.
So, Mississippi has enough money to let Favre “steal” millions.
But it does not have enough money to fix the water crisis that is affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
For a state that is consistently the poorest state, there is no wonder the residents cannot escape poverty because the funds meant to help them are used to help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Some of the politicians running Mississippi are from the same political party who despise handouts and reparations when they go to people of color or women.
However, when those handouts go to a White man like Favre, many people marvel at that person’s work ethic and the ability to raise themselves up financially through hard work.
Many of the people who desperately need the money often receive the labels of lazy and welfare queens from politicians and members of the media.
Until now, Favre has often escaped such criticism for his many sins.
But Favre has always received preferential treatment from fans and the media.
When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the New Orleans area and parts of Mississippi, it seemed that some reporters only cared about the safety of Favre’s mother.
Many reporters ignored the countless other players from the Gulf Coast and how Hurricane Katrina adversely affected their families.
I do not remember the national media reaching out to the family of the late Steve McNair in the aftermath of the deadly storm.
It was not breaking news when families of other athletes made it to safety during Hurricane Katrina.
Nevertheless, when a reporter found Favre’s mother and let her use his cell phone to contact her son, it became national news, while thousands of people were losing their homes and their lives.
But that idolatry was because Favre succeeded so often on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.
He rose to fame from a small town in Mississippi with conservative values.
More importantly, like Mooney would say, he had the complexion for the protection.
Therefore, he must be a hero worth worshipping, right?
No, Favre is just a very flawed man, and maybe a criminal, who God blessed with talent.
And it looks like Favre used God’s blessings to block the blessings of others.
That does not a hero make.