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Monday, October 11, 2010
Fallout for Brett Favre's Endorsement Deal with Wrangler

CNBC's Darren Rovell looks at how Wrangler, which has paid Brett Favre millions for his endorsement and for his appearances in a wide-range of All-American type ads, often with footballs and dogs and pick-up trucks, might respond to allegations indicating that Favre, who has been married for 14 years with two children, may have sent inappropriate messages and photos to another woman.

Here is Rovell:

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I spoke to a couple people yesterday who were surprised that Brett Favre’s Wrangler jeans spots were still running. Surprised that he was still on their Web site. They were surprised that Wrangler had no comment.

Well, I’m not. Put yourself in their shoes, or jeans. You have an athlete who you’ve worked hard to connect to your brand. And, unlike many of the endorsement deals out there, it fits.

Then this story comes along, where Favre might have strongly come on to a woman who was paid to do in-stadium sideline and Jumbotron reporting for the Jets when he played there. There are voicemails and pictures of private parts, allegedly his.

Partly as a result of the media age we live in, these pictures are released to the public. The NFL has to look into it because Favre and the woman he approached, Jenn Sterger, were both paid by the Jets.

But where does that leave Wrangler?

Well, let’s say worst-case scenario the voicemails are from Favre and so are the pictures. Maybe Favre’s not the clean family man we pictured him to be, but there’s nothing there that makes it a natural for Wrangler to sever its deal with him.

If all this is true, is it a put off to his reputation? Sure it is. But you don’t have evidence of adultery and no crime was committed. Kobe Bryant lost his endorsement deals because he was charged with a crime (the criminal case was later dropped and the civil case was settled). Tiger Woods lost endorsement deals because he was unfaithful to the hilt. . . .

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To read the rest, click here.

Quick legal point: Should Wrangler seek to get out of its endorsement contract with Favre, the wording of the morals clause in that contract will likely play a major factor. If it is expansively worded--such as covering all types of conduct that is publicly reprehensible, at least as deemed by Wrangler--that helps Wrangler; if it is narrowly worded--such as requiring that the Favre commit a crime--that helps to protect Favre.


Although I think the story is all smoke and mirrors, it will be interesting to see what ramifications come from it; specifically, as you said, how this changes the relationship between Wrangler and Favre. Obviously, the language in the contract will be very important, but I think Wrangler should be wary of breaking their association with Favre.

First, like you said, Favre and Wrangler is the perfect fit. I cannot think of a better athlete for their brand than Favre.

Second, if it was simply some misguided texts, and neither adultery nor criminal behavior, is that bad enough to sever the relationship? Think about Wrangler's CLIENTELE. Wragler pitches their low-priced, durable jeans to blue collar men; men who work in construction, work with dirt and other natural elements, etc. They aren't marketing their products to high-end businessmen, housewives, or hipsters. And I don't think the majority of their audience will give a big hoot about some misguided texts.

It's far different than the breakup between Tiger Woods and, say, Accenture, the major business consulting firm. Accenture markets itself as a very classy company, which is a description that does not fit Tiger's infamous behavior. In that circumstance, it was VERY obvious that the relationship had to be severed. Accenture's clientele includes businesses, wealthy ones at that, which are led by powerful people of both sexes. I am guessing that many of the women would feel think negatively of Accenture--subconsciously--had the company decided to keep Tiger on board.

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Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/13/2010 11:16 PM  

This, Howard Wasserman, is how you discuss Brett Favre's situation: don't rush to judgment like you always do. Discuss the legal issues, present facts like McCann. Otherwise you consistently come across as an extremist (which you are) and you keep destroying your own credibility in sports law circles and come across as a clown.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/15/2010 8:01 AM  

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