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September 15, 2014 03:06 PM
Jenn Sterger, who cooperated with an NFL investigation into whether former quarterback Brett Favre sent her unwanted, sexually explicit texts while she was a New York Jets employee, said the NFL needs to change its procedures for investigating alleged misconduct against women.
Sterger, pictued here during a 2011 interview, said last week she did not meet with a single woman during the NFL's investigation of Brett Favre in 2010.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
The NFL today sent a memo to league and club officials announcing it had retained three women as advisers to help the league develop policies and practices on domestic violence and related issues.
Sterger agreed to a brief interview last week on the subject of how the NFL conducts investigations, in the wake of controversy surrounding the Ray Rice case.
She said that when the NFL was investigating allegations that Favre behaved inappropriately in 2010, they asked her and her attorney to produce multiple text messages, including those that did not involve Favre, and that she complied with the request.
“They demanded I turn over all of my personal texts,” Sterger said. “Every text message I ever sent during 2008, they got ahold of. They demanded it from me. They wanted my entire life.”
Told of Sterger’s comments, Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of communications, did not comment, but emailed SportsBusiness Journal the Dec. 29, 2010, NFL news release that announced the results of the Favre-Sterger investigation.
The NFL launched that investigation in 2010, after Deadspin.com published photos and voicemails allegedly from Favre to Sterger when they were both employees of the Jets in 2008. The NFL investigation was to determine whether Favre had violated league policies regarding conduct in the workplace.
The NFL found that Favre “was not candid” during the investigation and fined him $50,000 for “his failure to cooperate with the investigation in a forthcoming manner,” but found there was no violation of league policy.
Sterger said that during 2010 she and her attorney met with many NFL investigators and attorneys, all men.
“I did not speak to a single woman during the entire investigation,” she said.
“The fact I had to sit there and have extremely invasive and personal conversations with these older men, who could have been my grandfather, was violating in itself,” Sterger said. “There was not a single female for me there.”
Additionally, Sterger said she and her attorney met directly with Goodell, who was accompanied by several attorneys. “I felt outnumbered. And I just felt he was just going to do what was best for business.”
Sterger took several weeks after the launch of the NFL’s investigation before agreeing to cooperate with it.
“In the NFL’s actual investigation of Brett Favre’s inappropriate behavior towards me, I was treated like I was the guilty party from day one,” Sterger said. “And that is why I took so long to meet with the investigators. Because they treated me like I did something wrong.”
September 15, 2014 01:22 PM
Jay Monahan spent much of last week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta celebrating the end of the season with the PGA Tour’s marketing partners. But Monahan broke away for about 30 minutes to talk to SportsBusiness Journal in his first extended interview since becoming the tour’s deputy commissioner on April 1. He’s sharp, thoughtful and intensely focused on his job as deputy commissioner, and he’s adamant that he’s not thinking ahead to what might be when Commissioner Tim Finchem eventually retires.
We met in the upstairs card room at East Lake Golf Club, site of the Tour Championship. You don’t just stumble upon the card room — it’s tucked in the back of the men’s locker room. On the walls are a dozen framed black and white photos of Bobby Jones, many of them featuring Jones and his father. Monahan, an avid and accomplished golfer, removed his jacket and walked around the room looking at the photos before sitting down.
Much of what Monahan talked about is in this week’s SBJ. But there’s more, including his thoughts of the tour’s globalization and his experience as a former tournament director. Here are some excerpts:
■ Monahan on breaking down how his time is spent as deputy commissioner: “Players. Our people. Partners. Our product. We’re a membership organization, so understanding how our players think and getting a well-rounded perspective on that is something I’ll always be working on.”
■ On signing off some emails with “Keep attacking”: “I do think that’s a good way at looking at life, to get the most out of every conversation, get the most out of every situation. Whether that’s me personally or the people sitting on the other side of the table, I just think that’s a good way to approach situations. … It’s just something I heard. I can’t attribute it to any person or something I read, I just thought it was appropriate. It fit. It started with me thinking along those lines, and then using it more regularly in conversations. I’ve internalized it more than I have in the past, but I try to wake up every day and live my life that way.”
■ On his experience as a tournament director at the Deutsche Bank Championship and later The Players Championship: “Our ultimate product is our tournaments. Understanding the perspective of the host organizations, how they’re structured, how important they are to their community, I think I have a pretty good perspective on that. But I wouldn’t say I’m unique in that regard. We, as an organization, have put a tremendous amount of energy on our tournament business. It’s a huge priority for us, how we support the tournaments and the host organizations.”
■ On the tour’s players: “I see it every week — our athletes connect with our fans at the course, and away, as effectively as possible.”
■ On being deputy commissioner, a job that hasn’t existed for 20 years: “It’s evolving. Any job evolves. The role has a short-term function and it has a long-term function. Its short-term function is executing the business and longer term it’s understanding and having a better perspective on the business. You go from short term to long term several times on a daily basis.
■ On the tour’s international initiatives: “We have a very strong global presence; we’re a global sport. Our international TV distribution is approaching almost 1 billion households in 225 countries. Close to 45 percent of our traffic digitally is coming from the international marketplace. Twenty-five percent to a third of our membership comes from international. We’re pleased with where we are and it’s a clear focus for us going forward.”
■ Do you get a lot of questions about potentially being the tour’s next commissioner? “No, not a lot of questions. I get lot of questions about the job I have.”
■ On his golf game: “I work at my game, it’s something I love to do, and like most people I have a strong desire to get better. Being in the industry, I need to put the effort in to get better. Over the last 18 months, I’ve gotten back to taking lessons at the tour academy and I’m playing more golf with clients and friends.”
September 15, 2014 09:00 AM
Among the comments:
■ "Lying about it, that would be a different story. But no one who knows Roger (Goodell), no one close to the situation, seems to remotely think that's a possibility. So with that said, it does appear he's quite secure."
■ "What's interesting is, all the attention is on the NFL. It's not on the judge who saw the tape and gave Rice the light sentence. It's not on the prosecutor. Very little has been on the Ravens, very little has been on the police authorities, who actually arrested the fiance for apparently getting knocked out. It's all been on Roger and it's all been on the league office."
■ "Roger should not have been speaking to the victim like this in front of the victimizer. It was a huge mistake. … Roger clearly mishandled it. But in terms of was he lying about knowing Rice had hit her, I don't think there was any question after that first video that he had hit her. I don't think that was the ambiguity that Roger was referring to."
■ "Roger was very poorly served. … Does Roger need different advisers? Does he need somebody new in that office, a fresh perspective?"
PFT's Mike Florio said of reports that a copy of Ray Rice’s tape was sent to the NFL in April, “If it is true, I don't see how Roger Goodell recovers from this. When you see Greg Aiello’s statement finishing with the sentence, ‘We will look into it,' that underscores the importance of getting an outside investigator to explore this issue from top to bottom of the Ravens organization and the league office to find out who knew what." Florio said of NFL’s leadership, “It's going to be very difficult to recover from this if that report is true. I think already at a minimum we're going to see people high up in the organization quietly leave for other employment after the season ends."
*SI's Peter King: “If it does turn out to be true, I do think that Roger Goodell may be in jeopardy of keeping his job."
*Former NFLer Hines Ward: “If this is true, I'm going to be embarrassed and ashamed to be affiliated with them" (“Pro Football Talk,” NBCSN, 9/10).
*MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said, "You can't begin to talk about how bad this is for the NFL, how bad Roger Goodell looks, how bad the Ravens look, how bad the entire National Football League looks. This is a multi-billion dollar industry and they are screwing this up like they're a mom-and-pop startup" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 9/11).
*NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "What the NFL has done by appointing an independent investigator is taking the situation out of their hands. This is as transparent as they could possibly be saying, ‘We are going to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take a look at everything and see who knew what.' (Goodell) has told members of his NFL staff to cooperate with Mueller. They are going to make all of their files available with the hope of figuring out exactly who knew what then. The important thing about this is the final report will be made public” (“NFL AM,” NFL Network, 9/11).
*Radio host Dan Patrick said the "NFL investigating itself (is) the big concern I have" ("Today," NBC, 9/11).
*ESPN’s Mike Greenberg: “The investigation concludes months from now when this has quieted down, this isn't top of everybody's mind, things have calmed to a degree and you can go on sort of business as usual” ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 9/11).
September 10, 2014 03:31 PM
THE DAILY offers a sampling of the myriad reaction to Roger Goodell's interview with Norah O'Donnell:
- ESPN's Keith Olbermann said "assuming only for the sake of argument" the NFL is "not outright lying, it literally did not know who to ask for a copy of the Ray Rice elevator tape." Olbermann: "In addition to the resignation or dismissal" of Goodell, NFL Senior VP/Labor Policy Adolpho Birch and Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash, "it is clear that" NFL Senior VP/Health & Safety & Chief Security Officer Jeff Miller, "who clearly as of this morning had no earthly clue where the tape's been hiding itself … or who could and could not give it to him, must also go." Olbermann: "From the lowest-paid at NFL Security involved in this case, straight up to Commissioner Goodell, their credibility is gone. Permanently" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 9/9).
- N.Y. Times columnist William Rhoden: “The NFL has turned this into a legal problem, a business problem. This is a moral problem and they never saw this through the lens of a moral problem. … They looked at it as a protector of the corporate shields" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 9/10).
- ESPN's Roger Cossack: "There's just no way that I will believe that the NFL couldn't have gotten a hold of that video if they wanted to" (ESPN, 9/9).
- FS1’s Rob Becker: “The NFL is not a mouse. The NFL doesn’t have to be granted an opportunity to do anything. It's a strong organization, as you know, and it’s a hell of a lot stronger than TMZ. TMZ just asked and got it. They asked the hotel and they got the video. Roger Goodell did not explain who he asked, whether it was the resort or the police. He didn't explain whether he knew where the various copies were. There's basically no explanation for why the NFL didn't ask the resort, ‘Please give us the tape'" (“America’s Pregame,” FS1, 9/9).
- ESPN's Louis Riddick said, "My only question is, why did you need to see this video? What were you expecting to see? You knew it was going to be violent, you knew it was going to explosive. This situation should have been handled a long time ago in my estimation" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/9).
- Prior to last night's interview, ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "This is the most prolonged and most embarrassing moment of Roger Goodell's career as commissioner and by the way, it shows no sign of letting up at this point" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/9).
- Former Ravens player Ed Reed said of the Ravens organization, “I need everybody to come out because Ray Rice is a family member. I need to see Steve (Bisciotti) and Ozzie (Newsome) out there. I need to see somebody other than just coach (John) Harbaugh to be the guy who kind of takes it” ("Jim Rome on Showtime," Showtime, 9/9).
September 10, 2014 11:33 AM
Among the comments:
■ "I've never seen such concerns about the leadership of the NFL from the mainstream media."
■ "I don't want to say that they have a bunker mentality right now, but they're still trying to figure out their message."
■ "The idea that the commissioner's tenure is in jeopardy is, I think, farfetched. … Realize, he has made the owners a lot of money."
■ "It's sort of a perfect gift. Everything came together for the fans of Buffalo."
■ "Those who suggested the (sales) process was being poorly run, either it's really ugly to watch the sausage being made or they didn't know what they were talking about."
September 8, 2014 09:01 AM
September 8, 2014 09:00 AM
September 4, 2014 11:42 AM
September 3, 2014 03:21 PM
The O.C. Register’s Dan Woike, on Colts Owner Jim Irsay’s suspension and fine: “It's really, really hard to punish billionaires. People want to see a fine that really hits them in the pocketbook. What are you going to fine him, $10 million? It's a weird position to be in” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 9/2). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I am not going to say it is harsh, but he didn't have to get six games. He could have gotten four and nobody would have said anything” ("PTI," ESPN2, 9/2). ESPN’s Jim Trotter: “Anyone who thinks there won’t be some sort of communication behind the scenes is kidding themselves. They probably still believe in the tooth fairy” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 9/3). ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said of the situation which led to Irsay’s suspension, “There may have been some bad intentions. Considering the age he is and some of the problems he’s had in the past, clearly there are issues there that resonate far more than being labeled just irresponsible behavior” (“First Take,” ESPN2, 9/3).
WEAR IT WELL: PGA of America CEO Pete Bevaqua, on players’ reaction to Ralph Lauren-designed U.S. Ryder Cup uniforms: “So far it’s been terrific and what’s been such a pleasure is watching Captain (Tom) Watson work with the Ralph Lauren team … and to see his ideas and his vision come to life” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 9/3).
BE LIKE TOM? Fox Business' Melissa Francis, on Patriots QB Tom Brady’s UGG Australian ads: “Whatever it is he's doing, you should do it because he seems to be doing everything right" ("Money With Melissa Francis," Fox Business, 9/2).
CAPITAL ISSUES: Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder, on why some view the team name as a slur: "I think you're going to have some people that feel a certain way, absolutely, and we respect those opinions. But I hope they respect our opinion. The respect needs to be mutual and I hope they do." ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said, "Snyder may have opened a door here when he talked about building a new stadium. Eventually that new stadium will need funding. He can't write the check for the entire amount.” Former NFLer Chris Cooley said, "I don't think the media is well informed at this point and … if you want to be well informed, you spend time actually talking to people and you spend time doing the research. I'm not saying that one person in the media is not well informed. But I'm saying the vast majority of people are not informed" ("Washington's Nickname: An NFL Dilemma," ESPN2, 9/2).
HEAT WAVE: ESPN's Darren Cahill said of the heat at the U.S. Open, "I'm a big fan of the heat policy coming in for the ladies. After the second set, they can take a ten-minute break if they choose to. I'm astounded the men don't get that option playing best-of-five after three sets” ("U.S. Open," ESPN, 9/2).
STAYING PUT: NBCSN's Dave Briggs said of Thunder F Kevin Durant’s new Nike deal, "Not only did Durant get a lot of money to stay at Nike, but he always wanted to be with Nike, always wanted to stay with them” ("Fast Money Halftime Report," CNBC, 9/2).