ATLANTA (AP) — Sponsors Wrangler and Snapper are sticking by Brett Favre after the NFL fined him $50,000 for failing to cooperate in an investigation into allegations he sent inappropriate messages and lewd photos to former New York Jets game-day hostess Jenn Sterger.
A spokesperson for VF Corp.’s Wrangler jeans said the brand still has the 41-year-old Minnesota Vikings quarterback under contract. The company wouldn’t comment about the NFL fine. Its commercials featuring Favre are still running.
Snapper, a unit of Briggs & Stratton Corp., that makes lawn mowers, snow throwers and other products, has an image of Favre on its Web site and says Favre remains a spokesperson.
Although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “could not conclude” that Favre violated the league’s personal conduct policy based on the evidence available, the investigation has tarnished Favre’s reputation. He has long been one of America’s most popular athletes and has won a Super Bowl, set many passing and durability records and has an image as an everyday, down-to-earth guy.
It is unclear what the fine and investigation will do over the long term to Favre’s endorsements.
After Tiger Woods ran his SUV over a fire hydrant in November 2009, eventually bringing to light his infidelities, Accenture, AT&T Inc. and Gatorade cut ties with him. Gillette and Tag Heuer de-emphasized him in their marketing. Just last week, Gillette said it wouldn’t renew Woods’ contract. EA Sports and Nike, meanwhile, stood by the golfer.
The fine might be Favre’s career capper. Although several times he has said he was retiring then changed his mind, Favre has said repeatedly this season is his last.
Favre’s marketability is unlikely to take a huge hit from the investigation, said Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, an marketing/consulting firm.
“It was a minor infraction, a text message,” she said. “This is in no way on the scale of Tiger Woods.”
His bigger problem: Retirement will take him out of the spotlight, she said.
“People tend to forget these people over time.”
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