Brett Favre, sexual harassment lawsuit

The sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Jets and Brett Favre isn’t so much about the bad behavior of Brett as it is the retaliation of the Jets organization against the recipients of the untoward behavior.

Massage therapists Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole claim that they were summarily left off the list of private contractors retained by the Jets to perform massage therapy services once Scavo’s husband had an unpleasant phone conversation with Brett Favre.

The other prime figure in this is Lisa Ripi, a Jets employee who was responsible for retaining professionals of this type and is the second person named in the complaint.

Here’s how the scenario is said to have played out.

A few years ago while playing for the New York Jets, after a massage session, Brett allegedly contacted O’Toole and invited her and her friend to stop by:

“Brett here you and crissy want to get together im all alone”

That message was said to be followed by this one:

“Kinda lonely tonight I guess I have bad intentions.”

Mr. Scavo took exception to his wife being asked over for the visit and is said to have phoned the quarterback voicing his displeasure.

Subsequently, after all this took place, the ladies weren’t called again to work for the Jets, although there were no complaints about their work performance and they had been part of the regular rotation of therapists used by the team for a long period of time.

Although the therapists did not notify Ripi at the time of these incidents there is speculation that someone did and the phone never rang again for O’Toole and Scavo. They were contacted two years later after the Jenn Sterger allegations were made public and a general report of others being harassed by Favre came to light.

Ripi initiated contact with the ladies, apparently realizing that they were the ones referenced in the media reports.  She castigated them for not coming to her to report the behavior, said that Scavo’s husband was a jerk and that O’Toole and Scavo should have known that she would have taken care of the situation without any public hoopla.

Then comes the part that Favre has just got to love. Ripi called him a “pervert”, said his invitations were wrong but reiterated her statement that had it been called to her attention two years prior, all would have been smoothed over.

The complaint contains text from Ripi that tells the ladies they’ll never work for the Jets again. It’s a bit odd since they had already been off the preferred contractor list for two years.

So what we have are allegations of bad behavior by a powerful figure in the Jets directed to low level private contractors for the team, and admissions of the bad behavior by the Jets employee in charge of hiring along with the stated reason for the retaliation against them. Sounds like a credible lawsuit to me.

According to the lawsuit, Scavo and O’Toole would have refrained from suing if they had seen the NFL take “meaningful” action against the Jets and Favre for the Sterger situation. Ok, that’s their story and they are sticking to it.

What are we to make of this?

Well, Brett Favre in his own special way is a gentleman when he invites women to his place and didn’t like having to speak with one of their husbands. We also learned that the Jets’ Ripi said she would have handled it on a quieter note if she were notified when it occurred.

Nothing tremendously new here except that Favre struck out with the massage therapists as well as Jenn Sterger. Here we thought a super star QB in the NFL could get whatever he wanted. I guess not. The next stage of the suit will be a filing by the team and if Favre and Ripi are told to hire their own lawyers, filings by them. They’ll probably deny the allegations and ask for a dismissal of the lawsuit.

To be continued…

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for Examiner.com and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.

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