Earlier on Friday, NFL Network addressed the recent on-air proclamation from analyst Warren Sapp that former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey was the (in Sapp’s words) “snitch” regarding the Saints’ bounty program. Specifically, NFLN Senior Vice President of Programming and Production Mark Quenzel said the league-owned network has “discussed it with Warren and stressed that he is an analyst and not a reporter for NFL Network.”
The statement didn’t specify whether any action will be taken against Sapp, but it clearly implied that the relationship will continue. Otherwise, there would have been no need to “stress” anything to Sapp other than the words “good” and “bye.”
Quenzel subsequently told USA Today that Sapp indeed will not be fired. Curiously, however, Quenzel wouldn’t say whether Sapp will be suspended without pay or removed from the air for any period of time.
So why did NFL Network have to “stress” now that Sapp is an analyst and not a reporter? There were no complaints from NFL Network when Sapp received a text message from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis regarding the fact that he’d miss the first of four straight games with a foot injury last season. And so the network had no problem with Sapp gathering news until Sapp gathered news that created trouble after the fact for the network.
That leads to the bigger organizational problem that NFLN has yet to publicly address. Sapp didn’t simply blurt out “Shockey is the snitch!” while talking about some other subject. Instead, Sapp put the information on Twitter and NFLN specifically brought him on the air to discuss it.
Right or wrong, good or bad, Warren Sapp was being Warren Sapp. Those behind the scenes who put him on the air to talk about what he had said on Twitter are the ones to whom a message or two apparently needs to be “stressed.”