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'The letter was kind of ridiculous': NFL quarterback lawyer sends Talbert Swan II a warning

Bishop Talbert Swan II, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, chapter of the NAACP in June , 2020.
Ben James
Bishop Talbert Swan II, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, chapter of the NAACP in June , 2020.

The president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, Talbert Swan II, said he was surprised to receive a letter this month from lawyers representing former NFL quarterback Brett Favre. Favre has been at the center of a multi-million dollar welfare fraud case in Mississippi.

In the letter, Favre's lawyer said the firm is investigating Swan regarding "potential legal claims arising from certain public statements" Swan has made about Favre since mid 2020.

"In view of this investigation and political litigation," wrote attorney Daniel Benson, "we hereby demand that you preserve and not destroy, conceal, alter, or otherwise spoliate, any and all documents in your possession, custody or control, regardless of where such documents reside…"

The letter was "kind of ridiculous" Swan said. "It was basically saying, 'We're doing an investigation to see if we should sue you. So anything that we feel may incriminate you, we are demanding that you keep it so you can help us with our investigation.'"

Swan has spoken about Favre numerous times on his talk show on WTCC, and on social media.

"I've carried on various conversations about how this welfare scandal affects particularly Black Mississippians," Swan said. "Just the level of hubris he and the former governor [Phil Scott] had to basically pilfer money that was ... earmarked. For [Farvre], who is a multimillionaire, to take that money to use it at his daughter's predominantly white college. It's sickening to me."

Mississippi has sued Favre and others over the misspent funds. Claiming libel earlier this month, Favre sued Mississippi's state auditor and two sports commentators.

For Swan, the fact that Favre is not being indicted gets to a bigger issue of disparity in the criminal justice system - and the way media treats sports figures.

"They spend a whole lot of time talking about Kyrie Irvingsharing [an anti-semetic] post, you know, but not nearly the amount of time on Brett Favre," Swan said, adding, "If Mike Vickcan go to prison for a dogfighting scandal. I'm not sure why Brett Favre wouldn't be on the hook for criminal prosecution."

The letter from Favre's lawyers was sent in January 2023 — to the wrong address. Swan said he found the letter a few weeks ago at the home of his uncle Talbert Swan I, who died earlier this month.

Favre's lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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