From The Underserved To The Undeserved | NFL Legend Brett Favre Owes $800K In Mississippi Welfare Fraud Case

Can you imagine what we would find if someone dug into Brett Favre’s emails? The same Brett Favre who was lightly chastised for sending a picture of his Magic Johnson to a female reporter/Playboy model Jenn Sterger. 

The same Brett Favre who is a fierce MAGA and Donald Trump supporter.

He’s also made more than $141M over the course of his NFL career, which makes his latest involvement in a widespread welfare fraud operation even more embarrassing.

Misspent Funds  

According to reports, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback was one of several recipients of letters from the Mississippi auditor’s office demanding repayment of misspent funds from the federal government’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, according to Mississippi Today’s Anna Wolfe. 

Favre reportedly received $1.1 million of those funds for sham appearances. After being caught, Favre immediately repaid $500K and agreed to give the rest back in installments.

The state of Mississippi, which has not pressed charges against Favre, notified him of his potential crimes a year ago, and he has not repaid the final $600,000. 

Now the Hall of Fame quarterback is facing a civil suit which requires that he pay the $600K plus the interest on payments made to him in 2017 and 2018. All of those violations combined cost over $800K. 

Favre’s entanglement (to quote Jada Pinkett Smith) in this scheme isn’t as clear-cut as it appears.

According to a vox.com article, which dug inside the legacy of Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform: “Welfare reform didn’t just turn AFDC into a block-granted program; it also gave states huge amounts of flexibility in how to use that money. and because there’s little in the way of incentives for states to use it for actual cash assistance, or even work programs, it’s being plundered for use in barely related pursuits, like administration of the child protection system.

“In 2014, just 26 percent of TANF spending went to ‘basic assistance’ — cash welfare — and another 24 percent went to work programs and child care, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis. A third went to activities well outside the intended function of welfare reform.”

This is the category that Favre falls into in Mississippi, a state that in 2018 used just 5.4 percent of its TANF federal grant on actual cash assistance to needy families. His money from two Mississippi nonprofits whose directors have since been indicted came too far out of the intended function, too many times.

Other Fallen Heros 

Some other high-profile names were outed in the scheme, including former pro wrestling star Ted Dibiase Jr. and his dad, wrestling legend Ted Dibiase Sr. AKA The “Million Dollar Man.”

Via Mississippi Today, the former WWE wrestler “must return $3.9 million in funds he allegedly received for serving as a motivational speaker for Families First. His father, also an ex-wrestler must reportedly pay $722,299 in funds sent to his Christain ministry to help underprivileged teens.”

Former Oklahoma Sooners football great Marcus Dupree is also involved and required to pay over $700K.

This is a pretty terrible look, especially for Favre, a guy the NFL constantly promotes as one of the all-time faces of the league and a person the NFL uses as an example of what the league is all about. A guy who supposedly did things the right way on the field and was an inspiration to the community.  

Between these latest discoveries and what has now become Emailgate in the NFL — as well as the newly discovered collusion between reporters and NFL owners — the National Football League is once again looking like a league who promotes one thing but under the covers does the complete opposite. 

Eighteen former NBA players were indicted on charges of scamming the NBA’s health care plan out of millions. At least they weren’t finagling money from programs intended to help the underserved.

This isn’t one of the NFL’s best weeks when it comes to public relations and keeping fans focused on the game.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.