Is Brett Favre's Cochran Endorsement Political Payback to Haley Barbour for Brother's Pardon?
JACKSON, Mississippi — NFL legend Brett Favre has endorsed the re-election of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), cutting a television ad for the six-term incumbent days ahead of a runoff election against Tea Party-backed state senator Chris McDaniel.
“I’ve learned through football that strong leadership makes the difference between winning and losing. And when it comes to our state’s future, trust me: Mississippi can win — and win big with Thad Cochran as our strong voice in Washington,” Favre says in the ad. “Thad Cochran always delivers, just like he did during Katrina.”
But a drunk-driving accident involving Favre's brother and the death of one of their friends raises questions about whether the unusual endorsement is political payback to former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is strongly backing Cochran.
In 1996, Favre’s brother Scott Favre was driving drunk on his way home and stopped on railroad tracks. A 49-car freight train crashed into the vehicle, and Brett’s close friend Mark Haverty, a passenger in the car, was killed. Police determined Scott Favre had a .23 blood alcohol content level—more than twice the legal limit. Shortly thereafter, Scott Favre was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Fourteen years were suspended, with one year of house arrest.
“This was a mistake between two buddies. I mean, there's nothing good about drinking and driving, but who hasn't done it?" Brett Favre said of the incident in an interview with Playboy Magazine in 1997. “They were unlucky. It could just as easily have been Scott who was killed. If I had been home that night it could have been me.”
In May 1997, Scott Favre was arrested again for driving without a license while he was on his way to help his dad fix a fishing boat. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for that episode—and ended up only serving 67 days in prison after courts determined later he was wrongfully jailed.
Favre, who had won the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots earlier that year, told Playboy he would literally give up his Super Bowl ring to trade places with his brother in that jail cell.
“Here I am in my fairy-tale world playing football while Scott sits in prison, and I have done more bad things than he's ever dreamed of,” he told Playboy. “I would give up my ring in a heartbeat to trade places with my brother.”
In 2012, on his last day in office, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour pardoned Scott Favre—clearing his record entirely.
Now Brett Favre is endorsing Cochran at the last minute in the runoff campaign while Barbour's political machine works overtime to help Cochran win.
After publication of this article, Barbour emailed Breitbart News saying he had nothing to do with the Favre endorsement and argued there is someone "pushing" this story.
"I have had no contact with Brett Favre in years, and I had nothing to do with his endorsement of Senator Cochran," Barbour said in an email. "I recognize someone is pushing this story as you are not the first reporter to ask me the same or similar questions this morning."