Brett Favre’s defamation lawsuit against former tight end and sports media personality Shannon Sharpe has been dismissed.
Green Bay Packers legend Favre sued Shannon over comments he made during a 2022 episode of Fox Sports’ “Undisputed” that criticized Favre’s connection to a welfare malpractice case in Mississippi. Favre called the comments “egregiously wrong.”
But a judge dismissed the case on Monday, ruling that the Hall of Famer’s comments were protected by the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett ruled that Sharpe, a former tight end, used “rhetorical hyperbole” when he said on television that Favre “takes from the underserved” and that the former quarterback “stole money from people who do this.” really needed money” and that someone would have to be a sad person “to steal from the lowest of the low.”
The former quarterback sued Sharpe in February along with Pat McAfee. The case was moved to federal court in March, and Sharpe left the Undisputed show in June.
Brett Favre sued Shannon Sharpe for defamation in February over his comments on television
A judge dismissed the case on the grounds that Sharpe’s comments were protected by the U.S. Constitution
The discussion of Mississippi’s social spending in “Undisputed” came after extensive reporting on allegations in Mississippi’s largest public corruption case.
Prosecutors said the department donated money to nonprofits that spent it on projects favored by wealthy and well-connected people, such as a $5 million volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi, a project for that Favre had agreed to collect money.
Starrett wrote in his ruling Monday that Sharpe’s references to “taking” and “stealing” referred to the diversion of TANF funds “for purposes other than supporting the underprivileged.”
“Similarly, Sharpe’s use of the words ‘people who really needed that money,’ ‘the lowest of the low,’ and ‘the underserved’ are again examples of protected, colorful idioms that refer to needy families in Mississippi,” the said Judge wrote.
“Here, no reasonable person listening to the broadcast would think that Favre actually went into poor people’s homes and took their money – that he committed the crime of larceny/theft against a particular poor person in Mississippi,” wrote Starrett.
On Monday evening, Sharpe took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to acknowledge the dismissal of the lawsuit and thank his legal team for handling the case.
“The U.S. District Court 4 in the Southern District of Mississippi on the second day dismissed Brett Favre’s defamation lawsuit against me.” The court found that the statements were protected by the 1st Amendment 2 of the Constitution. “Thank you to my legal team and handling this case,” Sharpe wrote with two prayer hands emojis.