This last August, there was much noise to be made over Gawker Media’s sports site, Deadspin, and a scoop they ran under the headline ‘Brett Favre Once Sent Me Cock Shots’: Not A Love Story. The shots were never released, but it looks like that’s about to change.
In the post, Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio recounts a story her heard firsthand from Sterger: that, while under the employment of the New York Jets as an in-house sideline reporter, Sterger was sent photos by legendary quarterback Brett Favre of his penis, him masturbating while wearing Crocs, and one where Favre is wearing the same watch he wore at a famously teary press conference (which also, of course, features his penis).
The site did well with the post, which — clearly having captured the public interest — generated 726,535 pageviews (and 281,889 unique visitors). Naturally, media ethicists went after Deadspin, mostly in light of the fact that Sterger asserted the off-the-record nature of the conversation to Daulerio in an email, writing: “AND NOT A WORD OF THAT SHIT TO ANYONE. I like ya AJ… and if there is a way to expose this dude for the creepy douche he is WITHOUT me being attached to it in any way that is fine.” Daulerio told media writer Jeff Bercovici:
“I don’t think this was a story that falls under any form of ‘journalism’ whatsoever,” he writes. “This is gossip. Nasty gossip. Deadspin has been known to do that every once in a while. This is one of those times.”
That appeared to be the end of it, except for the open-ended resolution Daulerio wrote into the end of his post on the matter:
Maybe those photos will surface at this point since I assume many people would like to hear her side of this story, given it’s a helluva lot more interesting than any retirement rope-a-dopes.
Cut to today, a little over three months later:
An emailer who I guess saw something he shouldn’t have claims that Favre’s dong photos are hitting the web tomorrow?
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) October 6, 2010
But why would we think this is true, and after that, why would we assume it’s Deadspin who has the shots? In an (on-record) conversation Daulerio had with a freelance writer of ours earlier today, A.J. told him over instant message:
“….tune in tomorrow for more dubiousness. It’ll be tough to ignore.”
The last question is as to whether or not Deadspin could ever have these photos. We called up Jenn Sterger to find out, and she didn’t return a request for comment, and then declined to comment through her manager, Phil Reese. That said, a source close to Jenn Sterger told us that Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio contacted her today to warn her that A.J. would be publishing everything a third party had given him.
If Sterger has managed to copyright the photos — and I’m no copyright expert by a long stretch, so I’m not sure if that’s even possible — she might actually be able to sue them for intellectual property theft and receive a decent settlement! It would mark the fifth time Gawker has settled a lawsuit in 2010! [See here and here.] Daulerio and Denton didn’t respond for requests for comment.
For whatever it’s worth at this point, from Michael Idov’s recent New York Magazine profile of Gawker Media owner Nick Denton:
I don’t think he’s even interested in a lot of stuff [his blogs] write about,” chuckles [Denton’s former Financial Times editor John Gapper]. “He always says that the problem with journalists is that they write about things that interest journalists, not the rest of the world.” And what interests the vast majority is, well, sex tapes, new Apple products, and, in the words of Denton himself, “athlete dong.” If you buy the man’s reasoning, this unflinching populism amounts to a kind of moral platform. “Our ethics policy? To publish the real story, the one that so-called sports journalists have spent their careers avoiding” is a representative Denton tweet on the topic. He was referring to an item about nude pictures of Brett Favre on his sports blog Deadspin.
Looks like we’re about to see them, and there’s like a (photos of) penis-hungry public, and loads of lawyers and media ethicists on the side in wait as well.
UPDATE: A reader points out in the comments that part of Drew Magary’s regularly scheduled Thursday post went up on the Deadspin RSS feed today. It read:
I don’t have much to add to the delightful treasure trove that Daulerio just dumped on your lap earlier today. All I can tell you is that if this business doesn’t warrant a single mention on ESPN Monday Night, then ESPN is the most fucking gutless bunch of pussies that ever walked the face of the Earth. If Gruden and Jaws spend all night fawning over Favre as if nothing has happened (and I promise you that they will), then they may as well get a fucking tour guide from Disneyland to broadcast these games.
(And think of how awkward this will all be for Mike Tirico. Tirico will be presiding over this game in the wake of documented sexual harassment by Brett Favre when he himself was accused of similarly ugly behavior years ago:
‘Tirico approached her and said, “I wish I was single. If I were, I’d throw you on the table right here and fuck your brains out.” After she tried to excuse him as drunk, he persisted: “I know you want to screw me. So let’s leave.” Oh man, I bet he’s breaking into hives just thinking about the idea of having address this shit.
That aside, think of all the things that are happening with this Monday Night game. The world has just seen Brett Favre’s very small penis (It’s not gray, though. So he has that going for him). Moss is playing his first game back as a Viking. Santonio Holmes, who has also had his penis shown on the Internet, is playing his first game back. Braylon Edwards, who may still be suspended for DUI, is likely playing. The Jets, who just came off surviving the whole Inez Sainz media cycle, are now being forced to again deal with accusations of team-sanctioned sexual harassment. It’s like the perfect confluence of football and dongs and disgruntled wideouts who don’t know how to properly operate motor vehicles. I can’t fucking WAIT.
Well, Margary’s not wrong. And for the record, neither can we.
UPDATE 2: In a post entitled “Did A Jets PR Person Act As Liaison Between Brett Favre And Jenn Sterger?” Daulerio writes: “It was from this number that Sterger later received the two voicemails and the three cock photos that we’ll have for you tomorrow.” More than the penis shots, however, is the question of whether or not the Jets’ media relations manager acted as a liaison between Favre and Sterger. No doubt, the Jets are going to try to move this bad press away from them, likely by shifting it against Sterger. No doubt, they would be unbelievably sleazy to do so, but it’s not like this isn’t an epically sleazy organization to begin with.