Sunday December 3, 2023

Brands Are Quiet Quitting Brett Favre Amid Welfare Scandal

  • Copper Fit still features Favre in ads, while SiriusXM failed to respond to questions about his status.
  • A pharma company and prayer app have deleted most mentions of Favre.
Shelley Mays-The Tennessean
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At least two brands appear to be quietly distancing themselves from Brett Favre in the aftermath of his connection to a welfare scandal in Mississippi.

Favre and the pharma startup the Hall of Fame quarterback was associated with are linked to millions in diverted funds, according to court filings and media reporters. The latest allegations — related to $5 million of misused welfare money that went to build a volleyball complex at the college where his daughter played — were reported by Mississippi Today on Sept. 13. 

Companies have traditionally been quick to ditch sports figures like Cam Newton and Ryan Lochte over non-legal controversies. More recently, brands also abandoned Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson soon after the first lawsuits that alleged sexual misconduct were filed in Houston last year. 

Favre’s sponsors have been mum despite repeated requests — some going back a full week — by Front Office Sports. CopperFit eventually sent a statement to FOS that stated it was sticking by Favre.

“Copper Fit has worked with Brett Favre for nearly nine years,” Copper Fit said. “He has always acted honorably, and we know him to be a very decent man. To our knowledge, he was cleared of any wrong-doing two years ago. We are confident that will be the case in the civil suit.” 

That statement came out after the latest revelation in the welfare funds scandal that Mississippi Department of Human Services director John Davis agreed to cooperate with investigators as part of a plea agreement. The civil lawsuit — where many of the prior allegations of the scheme were detailed — was just one part of the scandal, and a source told FOS Favre remains on the radar of prosecutors.

The other companies have remained silent, although two companies have scrubbed most mentions of Favre on their respective websites. 

SiriusXM: Favre’s show on SiriusXM NFL Radio has been promoted repeatedly in recent days. According to the SiriusXM app, his last appearance on  “SiriusXM Blitz” was on Sept. 13. Multiple requests for Favre’s current status with the company were not returned. 

33rd Team: Favre is an analyst for the the NFL-focused website the launched earlier this year. A text to a spokesperson for the site last week was not returned. Site co-founder Mike Tannenbaum, a former GM of the New York Jets and a current ESPN analyst, did not immediately return a text from FOS on Thursday.

Copper Fit: Since 2014, Favre has been a brand ambassador for the compression sleeve company. He continues to be featured on the Copper Fit site and on TV commercials.

Hallow: The Catholic prayer and meditation app founded in 2018 announced in August it had partnered with Favre. Favre’s picture still appeared on the site Wednesday afternoon, but a mention of the partnership in the text has been scrubbed from an August version of the same page saved by the Internet Archive.  Messages left with two Hallow executives were not returned. 

Odyssey Health: Favre had been involved with the company’s nasal concussion product even before it acquired the technology from Prevacus — a startup that received about $2 million with the help of then-Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant that came from the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Despite being the main spokesperson for the company’s concussion product that is undergoing trials, he is no longer listed on Odyssey Health’s sports advisory board. Messages left with the company were not returned. 

According to court documents, Bryant aided Favre in getting the funding for the volleyball center at the University of Southern Mississippi from the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Earlier in the month, it came to light that the FBI interviewed Favre over the $1.1 million in speaking fees he received in 2017 and 2018 for talks he allegedly didn’t perform. 

Favre paid back the fees — although not the $228,000 in interest owed — that came from federal welfare funds that were intended to go toward Mississippi families in need. 

Favre hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing related to the schemes. 

When asked by FOS on Wednesday whether Favre is a target of a criminal probe, a representative for the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office — one of the agencies investigating the fraud — declined to comment.

“The district attorney’s office is unable to speak to possible indictments of anyone in this matter,” Chief of Staff Samantha Grant said in an email.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Sept. 22 with a statement from Copper Fit.

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