Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre filed three separate defamation lawsuits on Thursday, targeting Mississippi state auditor Shad White, Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, and national sports commentator Pat McAfee.
The lawsuits stem from their comments about Favre’s alleged role in the 2020 fraud case after investigators in White’s office discovered that $77 million was missing from money allocated to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds in Mississippi.
Favre was among several other defendants named in a state audit and civil lawsuit, according to court documents. The state found that a Mississippi charity that received TANF funding paid him $1.5 million for speeches he never gave. The former Green Bay Packers quarterback paid the money back but was also instructed to pay $228,000 in interest.
The University of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater, received $5 million of TANF money that went to the athletic foundation. Text messages show that he advocated for money that was allegedly used to build a new volleyball facility while Favre’s daughter was playing on the team. Such a scheme is not legal under state law.
White’s audit has led to six people criminally charged, but Favre was not among those six. He believes White has ruined his good name to advance his political career.
“White has made egregiously false and defamatory statements accusing Favre of ‘stealing taxpayer funds’ and knowingly misusing funds ‘designed to serve poor folks,'” the lawsuit documents state.
He has reportedly threatened to sue Dr.Umar Johnson for comments made about him but he never filed a lawsuit.
“Mr. Favre has called Auditor White and his team liars despite repaying some of the money our office demanded from him,” Fletcher Freeman, a spokesman for the state auditor’s office, said this week. “He’s also claimed the auditors are liars despite clear documentary evidence showing he benefited from misspent funds. Instead of paying New York litigators to try this case, he’d be better off fully repaying the amount of welfare funds he owes the state.”
Favre’s lawsuit against Sharpe is about comments he made on his Fox show “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” with co-host Skip Bayless.
“The problem I have with this is that you got to be a sorry mofo to steal from the lowest of the low. Mississippi is the poorest state in our country. Brett Favre is taking from the underserved. He made a $100 million plus in the NFL,” said Sharpe in September 2022.
Pat McAfee, former popular NFL punter and now sports talk show host, said similar things about Favre on his self-titled Barstool Sports show “The Pat McAfee Show.” According to the lawsuit, McAfee stated, “he is a thief who is stealing from poor people in Mississippi.” It also mentions comments McAfee made on his personal Twitter account.
Fans didn’t show much support for Favre on social media following the lawsuits that were filed on Thursday.
A local high school commented, “How you gonna sue someone for something you did?”
Brad Franklin, a podcast host from Mississippi, stated, “Brett Favre. Sir. We’ve all seen the text msgs. Alluvem. How dare you file a damn lawsuit. Lol. The whiteness. The privilege. The tone deafness of it all.”
Other fans took a more comical stance and tweeted the meme of Patrick Beverly showing the referee the camera image of a missed call.