Warren Sapp has long been an idiot. But this is why he's wrong about Jeremy Shockey and this is how Bountygate likely got rolling.
First, some background. Weeks ago, after the NFL first released its Bountygate findings, there was a rumor floating around the sport that Jeremy Shockey, former tight end for the Saints, was the source for the NFL. I asked people familiar with the NFL's investigation and was told Shockey had nothing to do with the case. Nothing. At all.
I dropped the story and kept digging. Then Sapp went on the NFL Network, weeks later,and repeated the rumor. My information told me this was false so a few days ago I tweeted as much. My guess: Sapp heard it from some of the same people I did but didn't ask about it. He just went with it.
Based on numerous conversations with people both in the NFL and union this is how Bountygate got started and it had nothing to do with Shockey.
There was no Patient Zero for Bountygate. There was no one person who got the ball rolling. Based on people I speak to the NFL heard of the bounty system from a variety of sources. The league cast a very wide net and caught many fish simultaneously.
The idea there was one guy appeals to the conspiracy theorists particularly to a Saints fan base looking to blame anyone but the culprits themselves.
The idea of one whistleblower also shows a lack of understanding of how the NFL's security arm works. NFL Security is full of ex-FBI agents and police officers. They are the best of the best. They can find out anything.
And keep this in mind. I'm told a nice chunk of the NFL's proof are e-mails between Saints officials themselves.
This can't be stressed enough. In much of this case the Saints outed themselves with their own internal communications. One example is the e-mail from two-time convicted felon Mike Ornstein to coach Sean Payton asking Payton to put cash into the bounty pool.
That's not Shockey. That's the dumbass Saints putting things in writing.
Now I did hear this and no one has denied it so far. That a former Saints employee was one of the key figures early on. (One of...not the only one.) I called the person. He said he couldn't talk about it and referred me to his attorney. The attorney never called me back. So, there's that.
This is a highly complicated story with numerous moving parts. There are some parts of it that will remain a secret. Maybe forever.