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‘Take Me to Court Brett Favre, I’m Ready’: Dr. Umar Johnson Pushes Back Against Apparent Legal Threats Over His Criticism of Former NFL QB Amid Welfare Scandal

Retired football quarterback Brett Favre allegedly wants to shut up Dr. Umar Johnson for his ongoing criticism related to the Mississippi welfare scandal. Johnson claims on his Instagram, he received a letter from Favre’s attorneys he faces potential legal action for “certain public statements” he’s made about the retired quarterback.

Dr. Umar Johnson
Dr. Umar Johnson argued that the public shouldn’t be so quick to critique celebrities. (Photo: The Breakfast Club / YouTube video screenshot)

“Brett Favre wants to take me to court, then take me to court Brett Favre, I’m ready,” Johnson said in a YouTube video uploaded on Jan. 24.

“Dr. Umar is ready for court, I ain’t worrying about that,” Johnson continued. “Where y’all want to go to court at, Pennsylvania, Mississippi? The letter came from New Jersey, I’m ready for court.

“Just let me know when me and Brett Favre have to be in court together,” he concluded in his video. “I’m going to wear my Randall Cunningham jersey. The last jersey Brett Favre wore was the Vikings jersey. Randall Cunningham wore the Vikings jersey and scored the highest quarterback rating in a single season at least in the NFL up until that time”

Johnson is a certified psychologist and is considered an “expert on the education and mental health of Afrikan and Afrikan-American children” according to his website. Johnson is known to be an outspoken activist who regularly calls out injustices towards the Black community. He has also called out Favre for his involvement with misappropriating welfare funds.

Johnson was critical of Favre’s response to the racial reckoning and sentencing of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd. During a 2021 “Breakfast Club” interview, Johnson said, “He said he don’t think Derek Chauvin did that on purpose.”

“You don’t have to have lived as a Black man; you know what’s happening. Brett Favre knows exactly what’s happening, but he does not care,” Johnson said.

“Black parents need to stop letting their Black sons wear these white football player and basketball player jerseys until you know who they are and what they stand for. I can remember all the Black men growing up who wore Brett Favre jerseys and now they’re learning what Brett Favre really think about Black people,” Johnson continued.

Brett Favre threatens legal action against Dr. Umar Johnson
A screenshot of the letter Dr. Umar Johnson claims comes from Favre’s attorney asking him to stop criticizing the former quarterback. (Photo: Instagram/DrUmarJohnson)

The letter shared by Johnson ostensibly comes from the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm in New York. It says, “we have been retained by Brett L. Favre to investigate potential legal claims against you arising from certain public statements you have made about Mr. Favre.”

The letter tells Johnson to forward the document to his attorneys. It also asked Johnson to “preserve and not destroy, conceal, alter or otherwise spoliate, any and all documents and information in your possession…that refer or relate in any way to any of your public statements about Mr. Favre since May 4, 2020.”

The letter threatened legal action if Johnson fails to comply with its demands.

Atlanta Black Star made repeated efforts to authenticate the letter from the Kasowitz, Benson, Torres law firm but our requests were not immediately returned.

Favre has other attorneys on his legal roster including Bud Holmes and Eric Herschmann. Herschmann “agreed to represent Favre” in the Mississippi welfare fraud scandal after doing his “independent due diligence and was convinced he did nothing wrong,” CNN reported.

Herschmann also represented former President Donald Trump as part of the defense team in Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Herschmann, who was still with law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres at the time, left the firm after more than 24 years in August 2020 and walked away with $3.3 million to work for Trump, per reports. It is unclear if he’s still affiliated with the Kasowitz firm.

The heart of the scandal involving Favre and Mississippi’s TANF welfare program funds came about after a state audit in May 2020 revealed discrepancies.

The audit revealed Mississippi Community Education, a nonprofit, paid Favre “$1.1 million in TANF funds for promotional ads and speaking appearances that the state auditor said never occurred,” CNN reported. The welfare money was used to help build a volleyball arena at the University of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater. The retired quarterback’s daughter also attended the school and played volleyball.   

Will the Real 'Welfare Queen' Please Stand Up?: NFL Legend Brett Favre Owes Over $800K to Mississippi State for 'Illegally Spent Welfare Funds'
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre looks on as he is inducted into the Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 16, 2016, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cowboys defeated the Packers 30-16. (Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

“Brett Favre pressed Mississippi welfare officials to steer taxpayer funds to his pet projects,” Mississippi Today reported. One of the projects included a new volleyball arena.

“Favre returned $500,000 in May 2020 and repaid the remaining $600,000 in October 2021 after the state auditor issued a demand for it,” CNN added.

The volleyball arena was completed in 2019, totaling $5 million in construction costs. Despite Favre paying back some of the money, he is still on the hook for unpaid interest amounting to $228,000. Favre has not paid the remaining interest balance.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a state-administered federal program designed to help low-income families with cash assistance — the traditional welfare program. In Mississippi, a family of three with no other income received $260 a month in 2021 according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Mississippi TANF beneficiaries receive much lower than the national average of $492 per month. Black children make up “over three-fourths of Mississippi children receiving TANF,” CBPP said.

Favre has denied wrongdoing amid the ongoing litigation.

“I have been unjustly smeared in the media. I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight.” Favre said in a statement last fall. “No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me,” he continued.

Favre’s statement came about after text messages revealed he knew more details on the origins of the money that he publicly let on, as reported by NPR.

Favre is among a number of figures accused of stealing millions of dollars from the welfare program.

A screenshot from Dr. Umar Johnson reacting to Favre’s response to Derek Chauvin verdict in 2021. (Photo: @drumarjohnson/Instagram)

Johnson does not appear to back down after receiving the legal letter.

“Tell Brett Favre I want that smoke,” Johnson said last week.

The ongoing civil lawsuit launched by the state of Mississippi is still working to “add defendants to their civil suit — though a judge has to approve any new defendants,” PBS reported.

Favre, who retired from the NFL in 2010, is best known for his role as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. Favre earned nearly $140 million from his football career.

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