NFL analyst Warren Sapp names names in Saints bounty scandal
On Wednesday, former NFL player Warren Sapp, now an NFL analyst for NFL Network, went on said network to name names. Specifically: he outed the person responsible for clueing the NFL in on the Saints' bounty program.
|Sapp went on NFL Network to name the 'snitch' responsible for sinking the Saints. (US PRESSWIRE)|
The fallout from the Saints' bounty scandal continues. On Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell handed down punishments that made up in severity what they may have lacked in swiftness. The ruling comes more than two years after the incidents occurred during New Orleans' 2009 Super Bowl season, and nearly three weeks after the NFL released its initial findings.
“My source that was close to the situation informed me that [name omitted] is the one that was the snitch initially,” Sapp said via PFT.com. ”I trust my source unequivocally. … ”I did not call anybody at the league and I did not receive any information from the league. ...
“That’s the information that I got and I trust my source.I was given that information, and I went with it, by a reliable source.”
So who, exactly, is [name omitted]? Turns out, Sapp outed them on Twitter before going on air.
BINGO! RT @elnicastro: Shockey..? RT QBKILLA: Just Heard Who The Snitch Was— Warren Sapp (@QBKILLA) March 21, 2012
Shockey didn't waste time responding:
@QBKILLA really?? Wow did I also have something to do with the um scandal?— Jeremy Shockey (@JeremyShockey) March 21, 2012
@QBKILLA ask the comish haha— Jeremy Shockey (@JeremyShockey) March 21, 2012
Jeremy Shockey, who played for the Saints from 2008-2010 and was a part of the '09 championship team, denies the allegations.
But here's the thing: even if Shockey's telling the truth, Sapp's already put his name out there. It's the same reason political campaigns have been known to run ads that were patently false -- the facts don't matter. Instead, for some people, whatever they hear or read is what will stick with them.
But there's a bigger issue beyond who among Sapp, his source, and Shockey are telling the truth.
As PFT's Mike Florio points out: "NFL was able to dust off a cold case because someone blew the whistle during the 2011 season. And, as we explained earlier this month, it’s critical that the NFL protect the whistleblower from any type of retaliation — including insults, threats, and/or specific acts of violence from an overly zealous fan who now thinks the Saints’ Super Bowl title has been tainted and/or that the team’s quest to play in the Super Bowl that will be hosted by New Orleans has now been derailed. As it turns out, the NFL has outed the suspected whistleblower. On the network that the NFL owns."
Ironcially, it was on the very same network earlier in the day that Goodell weighed in on the Saints' sanctions.
“Clearly, we were lied to,” he said. “We investigated this back in 2010, we were told it was not happening, it continued for another two years until we got credible evidence late in the 2011 season and we were able to identify significant information that verified from multiple sources that this was going on for a three-year period.”
"Credible evidence" may or may not include a former player with ties to the organization. But the next time the league investigates a scandal, it might be much tougher to find someone willing to offer a glimpse behind the curtain, especially when doing so comes with great personal and professional risks.
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