Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has withdrawn his lawsuit filed earlier this year against sports commentator and former NFL punter Pat McAfee, according to statements from the two on Thursday.
Favre had alleged that McAfee defamed him on his popular podcast, when McAfee called the former quarterback a “thief” who was “stealing from poor people in Mississippi.”
The state of Mississippi is suing Favre and others as part of a massive civil suit seeking to recoup millions in misspent welfare funds, as CNN previously reported. He has not been criminally charged in the case.
“As many of you know, Brett Favre sued me over statements that I made about him in this program. As I confirmed in my court papers and I repeat here, my statements expressing comedic style were based solely on public information and allegations,” McAfee said during his program on Thursday.
“As I previously stated, I respect the hell out of Brett Favre the football player and his Hall of Fame career on the field, and I have no personal knowledge about any case involving Brett in Mississippi,” he added. “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. I would much rather talk about sports than about lawsuits, so I’m glad we have all of this behind us.”
Favre responded on Twitter shortly after, saying, “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.”
A 2020 state audit found that tens of millions of dollars were improperly used from the state’s welfare program. Portions of the money were to be used to build a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater, as well as $1.1 million paid to the former quarterback for a public service announcement campaign, according to investigators.
Favre returned $500,000 in May 2020 and repaid the remaining $600,000 in October 2021 after the state auditor issued a demand letter for it, according to the auditor’s office. But the auditor’s office maintained in 2021 that Favre still owed $228,000 in interest payments.
Favre has denied knowing the money he received was welfare money, saying in a statement last year that he was being “unjustly smeared in the media.”
Earlier this month, attorneys for Favre filed a denial of allegations in response to the civil complaint brought by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and asked that the court “deny the relief requested by MDHS” and dismiss the complaint in its entirety, as well as award Favre attorneys’ fees and costs.