Brett Favre Files Lawsuit Against Shannon Sharpe

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Brett Favre, the renowned former NFL quarterback, is actively pursuing his legal battle against fellow Hall-of-Famer Shannon Sharpe by trying to restore a defamation lawsuit he brought against the ex-tight end. Favre initially took legal action against Sharpe and broadcaster Pat McAfee, accusing both of making defamatory statements related to his accused participation in a major welfare fraud case in Mississippi. Both of these lawsuits were dismissed in 2023, but Favre is now pushing for his lawsuit against Sharpe to be reconsidered.

This legal conflict traces back to allegations surfaced in a 2022 civil lawsuit by the Mississippi Department of Human Services, which implicated Favre in the misuse of funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, marking it as the state’s largest public embezzlement scandal. Favre, who has faced no criminal charges, has refuted knowing the origins of the funds he received.

The dispute intensified after Sharpe critically commented on Favre’s actions during a September 2022 episode of FS1’s “Undisputed.” Sharpe’s harsh critique included accusations that Favre was misappropriating funds from marginalized communities, labeling him as a person who “stole money from people that really needed that money.”

A federal judge initially ruled that Sharpe’s remarks were covered under the First Amendment, dismissing them as “rhetorical hyperbole.” However, Favre’s attorney, Amit Vora, contended in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans that Sharpe’s use of the word “steal” could be interpreted literally by viewers, constituting it as defamatory.

The defense argued that Sharpe, known for his vivid expression as a sports commentator, used language that was clearly exaggerated and metaphorical. The appellate court, with Judges Leslie Southwick, Kyle Duncan, and Jeremy Kernodle presiding, has yet to decide on the matter, maintaining the stringent “actual malice” standard required for proving defamation against public figures.

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