Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre dropped his defamation lawsuit against Pat McAfee, both parties announced on Thursday.
The suit stemmed from comments McAfee made regarding Favre's alleged involvement in the Mississippi welfare scandal. The Hall of Fame quarterback is accused of persuading former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to misappropriate millions of dollars in welfare funds toward a new volleyball facility at Southern Miss, where he played football and where his daughter played the sport.
Favre considered McAfee's comments not only to be false, but also defamatory. The former Colts punter said he would happily go to trial, though it seems as if that is no longer necessary. Favre also sued Fox Sports' Shannon Sharpe for what he considered similarly defamatory comments.
The former QB, who also received more than $1 million for speeches he did not make, was ordered to return that money in 2021 by state auditor Shad White after failing to pay back the full amount earlier in the year. He has not been criminally charged.
MORE: Why Favre is suing Sharpe, McAfee for defamation
Here's everything you need to know about Favre's dropped suit vs. McAfee, and the comments that spurred it:
Why did Brett Favre drop lawsuit vs. Pat McAfee?
McAfee on Thursday said comments he made regarding Favre were comedic in nature and were based on information that was publicly available at the time — an important distinction from purported inside knowledge.
Full update on the Brett Favre lawsuit: pic.twitter.com/wmZfVKcNji— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 11, 2023
"As I confirmed in my court papers and as I repeat here, my statements, expressed in comedic style, were based solely on public information and allegations," McAfee said. "As I have previously stated ... I have no personal knowledge regarding any case involving Brett in Mississippi.
"I am pleased to report that based solely on me again clarifying these points now, with no settlement paid, Brett is withdrawing his suit against me."
Favre later confirmed McAfee's statement, acknowledging the latter was "attempting to be funny."
I'm happy that Pat McAfee and I have settled this litigation. Like Pat said, he was attempting to be funny and not commenting based on any personal knowledge. We'd both much rather talk about football.— Brett Favre (@BrettFavre) May 11, 2023
Successfully suing for defamation is a difficult endeavor, especially for someone like Favre, whose status as a public figure would have made it even harder. Generally speaking, Favre needed to prove McAfee knowingly made a false statement, that the fault in the statement amounted to at least negligence and that it caused some harm to his reputation.
While Favre could have allowed the suit to go through discovery, it would have opened him up to questioning, under oath, about his knowledge and involvement in the case. Considering the difficulty of successfully suing McAfee, it was not a risk worth taking.
MORE: Favre mentioned in Mississippi embezzlement scandal
What did Pat McAfee say about Brett Favre?
McAfee, relaying information regarding Favre's reported involvement in the welfare scandal, called the former NFL quarterback a "thief" who was "stealing from poor people in Mississippi."
While Favre does not face criminal charges, 2017 texts that have been released in relation to the case show Favre messaged the founder of the Mississippi Community Education Center, asking, "If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?"
Though Favre dropped his suit against McAfee, no mention has been made of his defamation suit against Sharpe, who made a similar comment on Fox Sports' "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed." While on the show, Sharpe — whose older brother Sterling played several years with Favre — said he "stole money from people that really needed that money."
As it stands, Favre's ongoing suit against the Fox Sports commentator is still ongoing, though Sharpe's attorneys last week asked a judge to dismiss the suit, according to Front Office Sports.