“You’ve got to be kidding me” was Brett Favre’s first thought when hearing O-lineman Jonathan Martin had left the Dolphins after allegedly being the object of prolonged bullying by teammate Richie Incognito.

“Pro football bullying?” a puzzled Favre said to Matt Lauer in Monday’s interview on NBC’s “Today” show. It was an interview that focused mostly on the former Vikings QB’s recent disclosure of the effect repeated concussions are now having on his life.

“My initial reaction was, You’ve got to be kidding me. What? Pro football bullying? We’re playing the toughest sport, most violent, not to mention you’re men, some older than others, so it’s not like a little 12-year-old on the playground,” Favre said. “I’m not defending or condoning, all I’m saying is my initial reaction was, ‘A grown man who’s 320 pounds is getting bullied?

Favre was interrupted by Lauer, who asked if the QB tough guy didn’t think bullying was possible in the NFL.

“Well, I never thought I would see it. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention, but my initial reaction was ‘You have got to be kidding me.’ It is part of the locker room. There [are] a lot of guys getting picked on. Some handle it well, some don’t. I’m not saying it’s right. And from a locker-room stance, from a team stance, I’m not saying it’s wrong. It’s just the way it is.”

I’m saying it’s a juvenile aspect of locker-room culture that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is most assuredly going to halt.

I am not surprised Brett doesn’t get bullying. He was very much trapped in an adolescent haze when as a grown man he sent sexting messages to Jenn Sterger featuring his anatomy.

It was fascinating watching Favre’s verbal dance moves with Lauer — about what’s possible and what he doesn’t condone in a locker room where guys get picked on and some handle it better than others. Kind of gives us a feel for why the NFL slapped him with a $50,000 fine for not cooperating with the investigation, which in other words means he wouldn’t provide the visuals needed to confirm what was in the sext messages.

Because of Favre’s concussion issues, one must be careful in criticizing him. Concussions are real, debilitating and life-changing. But when Favre talks about the parts of his legendary life that he can’t remember, I can’t help but suspect that those juvenile overtures to Sterger probably fall into those blanks spots.

Favre very smoothly included an “Am I perfect? No,” in his interview. He also noted that “There [are] two people in my life [and] without them I wouldn’t be sitting here today: Jesus Christ and Deanna, my wife. As I have gotten older, I realize what’s most important.”

Better that he appreciated her late than never. As Deanna Favre’s book detailed, she’s had to be understanding throughout her relationship with Brett.

Safe to say that the unenlightened Favre is not positioning himself to become the face of any antibullying campaign.

Others, however, may benefit from ESPN fantasy sports analyst and columnist Matthew Berry’s piece about the lingering impact of bullying, which earned big props from Twitter’s @SeifertESPN: http://tinyurl.com/ozpb4wz.

A bit of what Berry wrote: “For me, the thing that gets lost the most is the fear. … His detractors call him soft and say that he ‘shouldn’t have run.’ I gotta tell you: Doing what Jonathan Martin did took a lot more guts and bravery than just staying. Because there’s always the fear. … Not just the fear of retribution, but of what people will think, of looking weak and making yourself a bigger target.”

Edina surgeon on ‘The Doctors’

A mutual like reportedly developed between the stars of TV’s “The Doctors” and Dr. Nathan Leigh from Edina Plastic Surgery.

On Thursday Dr. Leigh is scheduled to be on “The Doctors” (KARE 11, 2 p.m.) for a double segment featuring a Twin Cities woman, Amanda Johnson, who loss more than 100 pounds and wanted a “mommy makeover,” although her significant other originally objected.

“Dr. Leigh was surprised he liked all ‘The Doctors.’ Everybody was very friendly. You know how celebrity doctors can be; sometimes they are not nice to noncelebrity doctors,” Lee Ann Gustafson, marketing director of Edina Plastic Surgery told me Monday. “They actually said they would like to see Dr. Leigh out there again. That’s huge.

“The show RARELY features doctors that are outside of the LA area. They do not spend money getting doctors on that show. That’s a play-for-pay show. Almost everything that’s on there, people have paid big money to be on there. It’s the holy grail of medical marketing.

“And they flew him out there. It’s a pretty big deal. We didn’t know anybody. They called us out of the sky blue. I just about fell off my chair. ”


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.