“In the last week, I™ve gotten a very clear view of two things,” sighs NY Times columninst / ‘Night Of The Gun’ author David Carr. “The male physique purported to belong to Brett Favre and the inner workings of modern media. I wish I could un-see both.” If only it were that easy.
Most news organizations stayed off the John Edwards love child story when The National Enquirer broke the news in October 2007, but the dam broke over the course of many months as the drip-drip of evidence and consequences began to accumulate. (At least The Enquirer had to chase John Edwards all over the Beverly Hilton. All Deadspin had to do was pay some loot and open a jpeg.)
There are differences between the two stories. First, the informational value of reporting that a famous married athlete may have been looking to step outside the holy bonds of matrimony does not pass the laugh test. If and when the N.F.L. decides that Favre violated the league™s code of personal conduct, it may be news, but not before.
And then there is the issue of stakes. Mr. Edwards could have become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Favre is now the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. He may use his image to sell Wrangler jeans and television sets, but he is paid to hand off and throw to teammates, not run a country.
(As a longtime Vikings fan, I would like to point out that he™s also not paid to throw the ball to people on the opposing team, but that is another story.)
If this were purely a matter of Deadspin having invaded the privacy of a married celebrity, I’d be quick to agree with Carr. WHO GIVES A SHIT, ETC. However, the Favre/Sterger case is more complicated and I can barely believe I’d have to remind a journalist with Carr’s background of such. Being dick-whipped by Zeke Mowatt shouldn’t be a prerequisite to understanding that females in the sports media world have to put up with a slightly different work environment than Jay Glazer or Merrill Hoge. There’s also the matter of whether or not Woody Johnson’s franchise has an institution-wide zipper problem ; this is the same team that turned a blind eye to the same Gate D Boobgate mess that Carr’s Times colleagues blew the lid off, it’s the same team that allegedly couldn’t handle the sight of Ines Sainz on their practice field. And let’s not forget that Deadspin has raised the question of other J-E-R-K-S employees aiding and abetting Favre’s alleged harassment of Sterger.
It’s totally legit to raise the issue of Deadspin violating Sterger’s confidence — for all the crap she’s received over the past month, few have pointed out there’s no evidence she deliberately tried to (ahem) expose Favre or used this incident to further her career — but that’s hardly the same as concluding the entirely story is irrelevant.