Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has filed defamation suits Thursday against Mississippi State Auditor Shad White and sports commentators Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee.
Mississippi is suing Favre in a civil case that seeks to recover misspent welfare money.
The University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation is one of 10 parties the Mississippi Department of Human Services is seeking to sue in an expanding lawsuit that it hopes will recoup millions of dollars of welfare funds lost in the largest public fraud in state history.
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Southern Miss is linked to the alleged fraud scheme through one of its most notable alums, former Golden Eagles quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who is mentioned directly in the amended complaint to the lawsuit.
The complaint against White reads, in part, “Shad White, the State Auditor of Mississippi, has carried out an outrageous media campaign of malicious and false accusations against Brett Favre — the Hall of Fame quarterback and native son of Mississippi — in a brazen attempt to leverage the media attention generated by Favre’s celebrity to further his own political career. By shamelessly and falsely attacking Favre’s good name, White has gained national media attention he previously could have only dreamed of, including appearances on television shows on CNN and HBO, a popular ESPN podcast, as well as interviews for print and online media. None of these national media outlets would have paid White the slightest attention had he not been attacking Favre. White himself acknowledged this, admitting that his own wife was ‘shocked” by his appearance on the ESPN Daily Podcast.”
In response to the lawsuit, White’s media relations director Fletcher Freeman releases the following statemennt:
“Everything Auditor White has said about this case is true and is backed by years of audit work by the professionals at the Office of the State Auditor. It’s mind-boggling that Mr. Favre wants to have a trial about that question. Mr. Favre has called Auditor White and his team liars despite repaying some of the money our office demanded from him. He’s also claimed the auditors are liars despite clear documentary evidence showing he benefitted from misspent funds. Instead of paying New York litigators to try this case, he’d be better off fully repaying the amount of welfare funds he owes the state.”
The Clarion ledger reached out to Favre, specifically for comment, but his representatives said, “the complaints speak for themselves.”
Favre’s representatives also wanted to point out that none of the suits are against the State of Mississippi, but against three individuals.
Shannon Sharpe is a Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end, who now works in sports media. The suit against him states that Sharpe published defamatory statements of purported fact, referring specifically to Favre, by name, on an episode of his television show, “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.”
McAfee is a former college football and NFL kicker and punter. He, most recently, has made a name for himself as an analyst on ESPN’s College GameDay. He also has a show called the Pat McAfee Show.
The suit against McAfee says he made statements on The Pat McAfee Show, accusing Favre of “steal(ing) from the poor” “(taking) money right out of their pockets” and “stealing from poor people in Mississippi.”
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Brett Favre files lawsuit against Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee, Mississippi state auditor