Will Brett Favre be punished for alleged role in diverting Mississippi welfare funds?

You have to explain yourself, Favre.

You have to explain yourself, Favre.
Image: Getty Images

Brett Favre has been rightly criticized for his alleged role in diverting funds from the Mississippi Social Fund to a home volleyball court project. His daughter played for the team and, with around $ 135 million in career earnings, he could certainly have handled a donation himself. Mississippi is by some parameters the poorest state in the union, aggravating the injustice.

“…[I]Is there a way the media can find out where it comes from and how much? ” Favre reportedly asked Mississippi officials in a message.

Favre’s involvement is a sports story, although it was interrupted by journalist Anna Wolfe who covered poverty Mississippi today. Financial history in sports tends to revolve around player salaries and broadcasting rights deals, but that shot is a choice.

While Favre’s personal interest in the alleged $ 6 million addressing error is easy to understand, it’s a family history in the sport. The wealthy owners are brazenly demanding that states and cities continually pay for private stadiums and infrastructure. Sure, they make an economic argument about the return on that “investment” that may or may not happen, but the basic principle is the same: using public money for private sports facilities.

“Brett Favre is pretty much doing the same thing that wealthy owners do,” said Southern Utah state sports economics professor David Berri. “Only Favre did not threaten to leave the state”.

The greed of Favre’s alleged scam may seem uniquely corrosive. Oh, but it isn’t. It is very much connected to the economic history of sport, in which public funds are continually diverted to sporting projects. Wealthy sports owners are constantly getting tax breaks for private arenas, and make no mistake, that public money could be used for any number of worthy projects.

Earlier this year, the New York governor. Kathy Hochul came out cheering for the $ 850 million in public funds that will go to the new Buffalo Bills stadium. Owners Terry and Kim Pegula are worth about $ 5.8 billion according to this USA Today Look to the question. The stadium deal may not have literally stolen money from the poorest of us, but then again, maybe it did.

“It’s all public money,” Berri said.

Public money is what turns into money for the poor, for the streets and for clean water. Every tax dollar that is used to fund a pristine NFL stadium with luxury stages and personal seat licenses is money that cannot be used for the more general good. And commissioned reports predicting those taxpayer dollars will drive economic growth are good storytelling, but they can’t predict the future and are documents designed to persuade government officials to part ways with their money.

And keeping the Browns in Baltimore, I mean Cleveland, can help when it comes to re-election. It is also clear from the excellent reporting a Mississippi today that Gov. Phil Bryant loved Favre a little in the way all politicians love votes.

There is another point of view in this story that Berri emphasizes. Favre would have funneled money into a women’s volleyball facility. This is noteworthy because by itself, women’s sports infrastructures rarely get the tax dollars that go to men’s sports. When they do, it’s often a mixed-use facility.

“About a billion dollars was spent on MLS stadiums, but not on NWSL,” Berri said. Billions in the NFL, billions in the NBA.

This is the kind of story a sports outlet would once have handled. But broadcasters aren’t in the business of taking down sports legends. Sports writing is less the first draft of the story than the first draft of hero worship too often. Anna Wolfe was on Pablo Torre’s podcast this week to discuss the reporting process for this piece, and it’s enlightening. A poverty reporter has gathered an army of sports reporters.

Where was the sentence for Favre? Sure, it violated some pretty basic principles about the rich taking money from the poor, but this is something professional sports team owners do regularly to their communities. In return, leagues talk about the value a team adds to the community.

And for part of the community, this is very true. But there is another part of the community that may prefer lead-free pipes or adequate drainage to prevent flooding.


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