Brett Favre Comments Over Derek Chauvin Spark Backlash

NFL legend Brett Favre has drawn criticism for suggesting he finds it "hard to believe" that former police officer Derek Chauvin had intended to kill George Floyd.

Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 last year after Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Tuesday.

The former quarterback acknowledged the former police officer's use of force had been excessive, but insisted he did not think he intended to kill Floyd.

"I find it hard to believe, and I'm not defending Derek Chauvin in any way, I find it hard to believe, first of all, that he intentionally meant to kill George Floyd," the three-time MVP said on his podcast Bolling with Favre on Wednesday.

"That being said, his actions were uncalled for. I don't care what color the person is on the street. I don't know what led to that video that we saw where his knee is on his neck, but the man had thrown in the towel."

Favre's comments caused a stir, particularly as they came just a week after he had advocated that sports and politics should be kept apart.

Speaking to The Andrew Klavan Show on The Daily Wire, the Hall of Famer said he believed most fans wanted politics and sports to remain separate and that social justice protests would lead to audiences tuning out.

His take on Chauvin prompted more backlash.

"Brett Favre was the same dude who said he wants to keep politics out of sports...except when it comes to defending a white cop who murdered an unarmed Black man," tweeted Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali.

Brett Favre was the same dude who said he wants to keep politics out of sports...except when it comes to defending a white cop who murdered an unarmed Black man.

— Wajahat "Fasting" Ali (@WajahatAli) April 21, 2021

Scott Dworkin, the co-founder of The Democratic Coalition, described Favre as a "Hall of Fame racist," while The Palmer Report, a political analysis blog, highlighted the contradiction between the opinions the former Green Bay Packers star expressed within a week.

Brett Favre is a hall of fame racist.

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) April 22, 2021

"Brett Favre, who just got done telling Black athletes they should keep their political views to themselves, offers asinine political view on Derek Chauvin conviction," it tweeted.

Brett Favre, who just got done telling Black athletes they should keep their political views to themselves, offers asinine political view on Derek Chauvin conviction

— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 21, 2021

During the podcast Wednesday, Favre pushed against the backlash and defended his take on politics and sports.

"I just gave my opinion," he said. "I'm certainly not a racist in spite of what some people might think, and you know, I'm for unity and I just feel like there's a better way to unify our country. That being said, there's a lot of things that need to stop."

The NFL and several teams welcomed the verdict, but acknowledged more had to be done to implement meaningful social justice reforms.

"Today's outcome in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis does not undo the loss of life," the league said in a statement.

"Mr. George Floyd should be here with us today. Our hearts remain with the Floyd Family, and we understand the pain, anger and frustration does not go away even when justice is delivered."

The New England Patriots added: "Today's verdict is one step toward accountability and justice. We recognise that there is still a lot of work to be done and we are committed to being a part of that progress."

The Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets struck a similar tone. The Las Vegas Raiders drew fierce criticism for posting an image showing bold white type against a black background reading "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21" above the team's logo, following Chauvin's conviction.

Raiders owner Mark Davis defended the post saying it had been his idea. "I felt that was a powerful statement," Davis told ESPN. "Today was a day where I can breathe, and we can all breathe again because justice was served. But we have a lot of work to do still on social justice and police brutality."

Brett Favre
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre prior to the start of an NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. He drew criticism for suggesting he found it "hard to believe" that former police officer Derek Chauvin had intended to kill George Floyd. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images