The Jets say the lawsuit filed by former team massage therapists Christina Scavo and Shannon O'Toole claiming they were subjected to sexual harassment and job discrimination is "completely without merit," and the team had not been aware of the accusations, the Associated Press reports.
"Unfortunately, the plaintiffs never reported the allegations to the Jets, either during or after the conclusion of their work," the team said in a statement Tuesday. "The case against the Jets is completely without merit, and we look forward to defending the matter in court, where we are confident that the Jets will prevail."
"Early Show" News Anchor Jeff Glor reports that the suit is against both Favre and the New York Jets. It alleges that he sexually harassed the two massage therapists when he was the Jets' quarterback in 2008.
Discrimination attorney Gloria Allred said, "Some players think that everyone should be just thrilled to be in their presence. They need to know that laws also apply to them. They don't have a license to violate the law because they are celebrities."
The harassment suit -- filed by Scavo and O'Toole jointly -- claims Favre sought to have group sex with Scavo and an unnamed third therapist. He allegedly texted: "Brett here you and crissy want to get together im all alone." And a second message cited in the lawsuit said, "Kinda lonely tonight, I guess I have bad intentions."
According to Scavo, Favre "eyed her like a hanging slab of beef" and, after telling her husband about the texts, he confronted Favre on the phone and demanded an apology. Favre, the suit claims, refused. Scavo and O'Toole say that, because of the incidents, they "were never again called to provide massage therapy for the Jets" and that a Jets employee told O'Toole: "Chrissy and you will never work for the Jets again," and, "Keep your mouth shut."
Rumors about the alleged harassment began to surface back in the fall, when Favre was facing another scandal: He was accused of leaving suggestive voicemail messages and sending lewd pictures to Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger.
Last week, Favre was fined $50,000 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for failing to fully cooperate in the league's investigation of the Sterger situation. At the time, some critics complained Favre got away with a mere slap on the wrist.
AJ Daulerio, editor in chief of Deadspin.com, said, "Everybody, including Brett Favre, was expecting that, after Roger Goodell's ruling last week, that all this stuff, he'd be past it. So this entire lawsuit by the massage therapists probably blindsided him."
Glor added the massage therapists are seeking unspecified monetary damages. So far, Favre has said nothing about the lawsuit.
But will he have to?
CBS News Legal Analyst Jack Ford said this case could play out differently than the Jenn Sterger case.
He explained, "Couple of significant differences: One is, in the investigation by the NFL, it was just that, an investigation. They couldn't compel people to come show up and answer questions. And most importantly, in a civil lawsuit, when Brett Favre or the other parties or any witnesses are questioned, it's all under oath. So you can force somebody to sit down and say, 'All right, you're going to have to answer my questions here.' There's some limitations to what you can ask. But you can say, 'You're going to have to answer and you know what? You're under oath, so you'd better be telling the truth here."'
"Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge noted, "I guess that's the big thing with the NFL investigation with Brett Favre: He was fined for not cooperating fully. Under these circumstances, he has to cooperate."
Ford said, "He does. Now the question that we don't know is, OK, what are the facts here? And there are always two sides to every story. They'll all play out as we come. But there will be, if this continues, and chances are it will continue at least in the early stages, if this continues, it might even go to trial. At some point in time, Brett Favre's going to have to sit down, put his hand on a Bible, swear to tell the truth and answer some questions."
Why is this lawsuit surfacing now?
Ford said it's likely the massage therapists are dissatisfied with the NFL's investigation of the Favrer/Sterger connection.
"They feel that they were shortchanged and indeed, they feel that they were penalized by everything that played out here," he said. "The response on the other side, you can assume, is going to be, 'Well, you know what, they're looking for celebrity. Their own 30 minutes of fame. They're looking for money.' We don't know the answer to that."
In fact, the timing of the lawsuit, Ford said, could potentialyl hurt their case.
He said, "As always, in any civil case, or most civil cases, the defense attorneys can make the argument that says, 'Look, they're blowing something out of proportion here. They're looking for money. They're looking for fame. They're looking for celebrity.' The fact is, and I'm not saying about this case, about any case, somebody might be doing all that, but they might also have been offended in some fashion."
As for Sterger, Ford said she's "going to have to make a call" if she wants to sue.
"There are time limits on when can you do that," he said. "The interesting thing is, even if she doesn't decide to file a suit, and there's been some suggestion that she will, but even if she doesn't, the question becomes does her case somehow get woven into this one here? Because you've got a couple of things going on: You have them suing Brett Favre, basically saying that his conduct was offensive. It has to be more, people have to understand -- are going to say it has to be more than boorish conduct, otherwise every guy with a bad pickup line in a bar is going to get sued here."
"It has to be conduct that offends the reasonable sensibilities of some person," Ford said. "So the question is, if they continue, are they going to try to weave Jenn Sterger's claims in some fashion to illustrate what they say was Brett Favre's bad behavior?"