Signs currently point to a lawsuit from Shockey

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Former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey has been saying plenty of about Warren Sapp’s contention that Shockey blew the whistle on the team’s three-year bounty system.  Shockey was scheduled to appear on Friday’s edition of the The Dan Patrick Show to talk about it some more.

When the time came for Shockey’s interview, the man described in the ESPN book as the best booker in the history of television, Todd Fritz, told Dan that Shockey is in a meeting and may not be available.

Ultimately, Shockey didn’t show.  Ultimately, it was disclosed that Shockey was meeting with a lawyer.  (We also made a request for an appearance from Shockey on PFT Live.  We were told that Shockey would still be in his meeting.)

Whether or not Shockey actually was meeting with a lawyer, the fact that he has clammed up suggests that a lawyer has told him to clam up.  It’s the first bit of advice any lawyer gives when a lawsuit is being considered, because anything the person filing the lawsuit says can be used against him in court.

Shockey faces an interesting dilemma, if he intends to sue.  Although federal law protects whistleblowers from retaliation, Shockey has insisted that he’s not the whistleblower.  So the first line of defense in any such whistleblower case he may file would be that he’s not protected.  Moreover, even if Shockey were protected, he’d have to show that the league in some way retaliated against him, and it will be hard to show that a 31-year-old tight end with a reputation for being a bad guy was blackballed because he blew the whistle on the Saints.

Maybe it’s enough that his name was disclosed by the NFL on the league-owned network; maybe it isn’t.  That would be a matter for litigation.

If he’s not the whistleblower, Shockey could sue Sapp and/or the league for defamation of character, since Sapp uttered facts about Shockey that aren’t true.  The problem with a defamation of character lawsuit is that damages are determined by assessing the impact on the plaintiff’s reputation.  This makes consideration of the player’s pre-existing reputation critical to the process.  Which, in Shockey’s case, makes a defamation of character claim not extremely valuable — unless he can prove that a team would have signed him if he hadn’t incorrectly been identified as the whistleblower.

And that simply isn’t going to happen.

Still, regardless of how it all plays out, it looks like Shockey is exploring his options.

102 responses to “Signs currently point to a lawsuit from Shockey

  1. What Sapp considers a joke others might see as liberal. He enjoys a good laugh at others expense and hope Shockey does sue the pants off of him.

  2. and if Shockey is right and he’s innocent, Sapp should get sued. no it’s not what’s holding him from being signed (i think it’s more age), but that is a big accusation.

  3. And with a defamation case, since Shockey as a quasi-celebrity is arguably a public figure, he may have to prove Sapp acted with “actual malice”, i.e. knowledge or reckless disregard for the truth of whether Shockey was the whistleblower, which is very difficult to do.

  4. Shock will use the $ from this lawsuit and spend it all on a week long bender in Vegas and rehab pool parties

  5. Lord please let the football season hurry up and get here sick of snitches, bountygate, Peyton stories, Tebow stories etc., like watching a friggin soap opera…

    Btw is this a conspiracy by all the other sports to bring down the NFL???

  6. Not a legal mind but I think that if Shockey isn’t signed by a team this year then he could argue that the defaming comments contributed to his not getting a contract (e.g. the straw that breaks the camel’s back).

    To my way of thinking the fact that Sapp is an employee, directly or indirectly, of the NFL really ties the can to the league’s tail to ensure that Shockey’s playing career is not negatively affected by Sapp’s comments.

  7. I don’t think that Shockey is the whistleblower. I’m not his biggest fan either, but I think he should sue for defamation of character. Who wants to be thought of as a Rat by his peers?Sapp is an idiot and should keep that fat mouth shut. I hope he sues and they take Sapp off the NFL network. I don’t understand why NFL network can’t get more classy retired players. There are so many more intelligent players who I would much rather watch on NFL Network.

  8. Personally I can’t stand either one of them. Throw them in a MMA ring and lets all have a laugh!

  9. He should sue. If someone on national TV accused any one of us of something we didn’t do we would sue as well.

  10. So Sap says Shockey blew the whistle on what was a completely horrible program and should have been stopped.

    I would say in this case it’s not defamation because that noble act actually would be an improvement to his charachter.

    His lawsut will have to say “The claims that I was the whistleblower are not true. I actually knew about the program and did nothing so I am still a scumbag.”

  11. Shockey Sue QBKILLA. What a Rat Sapp is? Never had respect for the guy and hate him now.

  12. Terraj35, yes, shockey may have lost a step but he’s still a.great blocking and receiving tight end and in the era of Dallas Clarks there aren’t alot of guys who can do both. Whike you seem to think this slander/libel will not effect his signing with a new team remember the NFL is a boys club and in the locker room a “good ol boys” club. Warren Sapp did this purposefully I believe and he should pay for it.

  13. Go get ’em, Jeremy!

    You may be a mean old grumpy has been football payer but calling you a whistleblower is like saying you have no tatto’s on your body!

  14. Not a lawyer but it seems to me sapp’s utter disregard for basic journalism protocol, not to mention common sense, is enough to nail his ass to the wall. This has hitjob written all over it.

  15. Hope he takes every penny Sapp has left. then Fatboy can drag his fat mouth back to the ghetto

  16. These are two of the most hateable people to put on a helmet in the last decade. Just tell me Bill Romanowski is involved and you’ll have a trifecta.

  17. That’ll knock Sapp’s socks off. He enjoys putting people down . . . now he’s going down. I won’t miss his head-bobbing, wide-eyed meaningless blurps that the NFL Network says is “analysis.”

  18. Carolina needs to resign Shockey. He had a pretty good season last year, and with a full off-season for Rivera/Chud/Newton will only make that offense better.

    He and Greg Olsen made a great tight end duo. Many players in the Panthers locker room have noted that Shockey’s presence helped their young team a lot last year.

    Whether you did it or not Shock, come back to Carolina and we’ll hate New Orleans together!

  19. I never liked Shockey…and still don’t.
    With that said, if I got slandered like he did, I would be pretty ticked off too. The rumor itself will make him hated by the players and less attractive to sign as a free agent by the owners. Nobody in the NFL will like him.

    I would get a lawyer too

  20. Former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey has been saying plenty of about Warren Sapp’s
    ——-
    Plenty of about…what…CHECK YOUR WORK!

  21. Let’s say the following two things are absolutely true: Shockey was not the whistleblower and Sapp acting as an NFL employee was absolutely wrong to out him. How was Shockey damaged? You can wronged for a whole lot of things. But if you didn’t suffer damages, you are not entitled to anything.

  22. As far as we can tell right now, there was only one whistleblower. Given that presumption, there are some dozens of players and NO staff people who knew about the bounty system and elected to not say anything for some extended length of time. Mr. Shockey is part of that “code of silence” group.

    There is no honor that arrives by being a member of the “code of silence” group.

    Silence isn’t tolerated by law enforcement if a spouse knows that what his/her partner is doing falls into certain unlawful categories. Here we have a conspiracy to cause bodily injury that falls way outside any concealment protection that might be associated in some circumstances with a marriage.

    Holy cow … this isn’t the mafia, it’s the NFL.

    Sapp has outed a cover-up co-conspirator. Shokey is a co-conspirator, not a hero for being a non-snitch.

  23. How could Shockey be the whistle blower anyways? The NFL claims it found out about the bounties during the 2010 season – WHILE Shockey was still in New Orleans. Only reason Shockey would whistle blow would be retaliation. And why would a guy retaliate against a team he still plays for?

  24. The defamation angle is absurd because, in addition to being false, the statements also have to be defamatory. Thus, even assuming that Sapp’s claims are false, there is nothing defamatory about claiming that Shockey told the truth in response to a league investigation.

  25. What would be hilarious is if the NFL settled out of court by giving Shockey a job and firing Sapp.

  26. I lived in Tampa while Sapp still played there, his reputation as a “human being” was less than stellar. The U doesn’t exactly have a reputation of turning out, shall we say, pillars of the community. Shockey isn’t going to file squat. All Sapp has to do is say I overheard a conversation with someone who’s known to have some manner of association with Shockey or the league and they said such and such and he’s off. I’d hate to be on that jury, a courtroom full of lawyers and two Miami alumnus, more like a twilight episode.

  27. “mvp43 says:
    Mar 23, 2012 2:29 PM
    These are the actions of a man who is innocent.”

    I AGREE!!!!
    sincerely,
    Roger Clemens

  28. So….Tim Tebow can sue every anchor for saying that he’s not a legit NFL QB? Blaine Gabbert can sue for just being all-around terrible and someone commenting? Warren Sapp, no genius by the way, said that he heard it was Shockey, info has come out sort of clearing him. Other than being pissed at Sapp what is going to accomplish with this? Shockey sucks and needs to be put out to pasture, can’t believe that he would rather have his career end like this instead of him sucking for the last few years….actually, this makes perfect sense!

  29. I don’t think if Shockey does sue that it is necessarily for the money but to clear his name. And the cash wouldn’t be bad, but I doubt he would get any.

  30. shzastl says:
    Mar 23, 2012 2:33 PM
    And with a defamation case, since Shockey as a quasi-celebrity is arguably a public figure, he may have to prove Sapp acted with “actual malice”, i.e. knowledge or reckless disregard for the truth of whether Shockey was the whistleblower, which is very difficult to do.

    ———————————————-

    Your point is sound but can’t the argument also be made along that same premise that as a “quasi-celebrity” his future employment after his football career might be affected due to his credibility being wrongly defamed?

  31. Would a football coach have a defamation of character claim against an “internet hack” who continues to say that the Saints ran a program “to intentionally injure players” rather than an incentive program that may have paid out “bonuses” to players who took players out by way of legal hits within the rules of the game?

  32. Dear green41563,
    Your comment quoted below is extremely well thought-out:
    “The defamation angle is absurd because, in addition to being false, the statements also have to be defamatory. Thus, even assuming that Sapp’s claims are false, there is nothing defamatory about claiming that Shockey told the truth in response to a league investigation.”

    Thanks for that insight. Bulls-eye.

    A much, much, much better way for Shockey to respond to Mr. Sapp would have been:

    ‘Warren could have made a very damaging commentary about me that would have been very true. Warren could have said that I was part of a group that deliberately concealed a NO conspiracy to injure people over an extended period of time. Warren could have demanded to know why I had not come forward a long time ago to make that information public. That would have been a valid criticism of me by Warren. Some other person, I don’t know who, did finally elect to do the right thing and bring this conspiracy to the attention of the NFL. It wasn’t me … and therefore I can’t take credit for doing it. I’m glad someone with better ethics than me finally got the truth out before more people were hurt or exposed to bodily harm by the NO bounty system.’

    .

  33. Just make sure who ever reads the lawsuit to Shock isn’t the same guy from the Jets who forgot to read all of tebow’s contract

  34. I love the people spinning the whole point of why Sapp even MENTIONED Shockey’s name.

    “Well all he said, to the national TV audience, was that Jeremy Shockey should be commended for his ‘snitching’, and should also win the Nobel Peace Prize.”

    Give us all a break, please.

  35. gb4mn0 says: Mar 23, 2012 3:37 PM

    Your point is sound but can’t the argument also be made along that same premise that as a “quasi-celebrity” his future employment after his football career might be affected due to his credibility being wrongly defamed?

    ———————————————-

    Agreed, but that goes to the issue of damages. To be entitled to any damages, he may have to establish that Sapp knew or should have known that what he was saying was false. That is tough to do, but if he can prove that, you are correct that he should be entitled to compensation for damage to his post-football prospects, etc.

  36. flowinloco311 —

    Those analyzing Tebow’s game are doing exactly what they are paid to do.

    Sapp is using words like SNITCH to light a fire under the players are who still in the league’s rear ends. Totally separate and different scenarios.

    That’s called instigating, and definitely slandering. And, as someone pointed out, very POTENTIALLY defaming to Shockey’s character. There IS life after football, after all. Shockey isn’t a bad looking guy, he could(‘ve) end(ed) up doing NFL analysis once he retires, also.

  37. green41563 says: Mar 23, 2012 3:20 PM

    The defamation angle is absurd because, in addition to being false, the statements also have to be defamatory. Thus, even assuming that Sapp’s claims are false, there is nothing defamatory about claiming that Shockey told the truth in response to a league investigation.
    ———————————————-

    It’s still defamatory if it’s damaging to his reputation even if it’s not something inherently “bad.” Consider if Sapp falsely said he heard J.S. had a boyfriend. As Seinfeld would say, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”, right or wrong we could expect a high likelihood his reputation in NFL circles and acceptance in an NFL locker room may be destroyed.

  38. Warren Sapp shouldn’t even be on TV. The guy knows next to nothing about football.

    If you played for the U, he thinks you’re great. That’s the only thing he ever offers up.

    That doesn’t make him an analyst; it makes him a chump.

  39. I think the defamation of character claim would stand up in court. Many “bad boys” with bad attitudes have roster spots: think Plaxico, Pacman Jones, Chris Cook, Albert Haynesworth, Perrish Cox, Aqib Talib, Michael Vick, etc.

    Shockey has the talent to compensate for being a turd. I don’t think he has the talent to compensate for being a turd AND being labeled a snitch. The snitch label could cost him millions.

  40. I wish it was Hugh Douglas that had said it, somebody needs to get some of that money he STOLE from the Jaguars when he left Philly. I’m sure Philly just said good-riddance loafer.

  41. Has there been stuff with Shockey that I’ve never heard about? (very possible). I’ve heard of him being a bad locker room guy/teammate, whatever. But I dont’ know of any run ins with the law or any other shady behavior (you know, like smaking a girl around, Mr. Sapp).

    I think you guys have a very limited understanding of what defimation is, and what would be considered having a undamagable reputation means.

    IF Shockey actually takes this to court, he wins. It’s just a matter of how long Sapp (and most likely NFL) lawyers want to try to drag it out for. 1, if he was the whistleblower, Sapp, and by extension the NFL, broke the law and infringed on his civil rights by outing him. If he is not, they still acted with malice disregard for the truth, and blamed something on him that will obviously have a negative impact on him. It is basically the definition of defamation.

    The fact that you don’t like Shockey (and I don’t either) has no relevance on what the decision would be

  42. johntonioholmes says:
    Mar 23, 2012 4:01 PM
    Warren Sapp shouldn’t even be on TV. The guy knows next to nothing about football.

    If you played for the U, he thinks you’re great. That’s the only thing he ever offers up.

    That doesn’t make him an analyst; it makes him a chump.

    ==================================
    Funny thing here is that Sapp hated the media when he was a player and treated them like dirt. In his first media role, he told Wilbon and Kornheiser at Super Bowl media day in 2004 that Russ Hochstein couldn’t even block them. Sapp is a big mouth sap or chump, as you put it.

  43. shzastl says:
    Mar 23, 2012 3:52 PM
    gb4mn0 says: Mar 23, 2012 3:37 PM

    Your point is sound but can’t the argument also be made along that same premise that as a “quasi-celebrity” his future employment after his football career might be affected due to his credibility being wrongly defamed?

    ———————————————-

    Agreed, but that goes to the issue of damages. To be entitled to any damages, he may have to establish that Sapp knew or should have known that what he was saying was false. That is tough to do, but if he can prove that, you are correct that he should be entitled to compensation for damage to his post-football prospects, etc.

    ———————————————-

    Understood and agreed. Since you apparently have experience in these matters, what if it can be proven that Sapp has publicly made other false statements about Shockey, might that show a pattern of malice and thus open himself up to being sued?

  44. If he didn’t do what Sapp said why would he sue ?

    It seems to me that he did what Sapp said.

  45. gb4mn0 says: Mar 23, 2012 4:48 PM
    ***
    Understood and agreed. Since you apparently have experience in these matters, what if it can be proven that Sapp has publicly made other false statements about Shockey, might that show a pattern of malice and thus open himself up to being sued?
    ———————————————-

    Yes, I think if there was evidence that Sapp had made prior false statements re: Shockey (or really, had recklessly made defamatory statements about other players on the NFL show without determining whether the statements were true), that would tend to make it more likely that he recklessly disregarded the truth here (or worse, purposely lied because he has a personal vendetta against Shockey). But even so, if Sapp can show that he believed his source to be reasonably reliable (e.g., if the source is a member of the team who would be in a position to know details of the investigation), it seems Shockey wouldn’t have much of a case.

  46. This is really an interesting case from about 15 different angles.

    a) I hate Shockey like a lot of people. He’s that guy in High School that was bullying all the geeks (I was a geek). But did he have talent… yeah.

    b) That being said, outing a whistle blower is a pretty big deal. Employees (which is what he is) should have the right to blow the whistle when something illegal is happening at their company. (Yes, paying someone to specifically hurt another person is illegal)

    c) And finally… for a while there I was kind of on Sapp’s side. It’s a free country. But NFLN IS owned by the NFL which makes Sapp and Shockey employees of the same “company”. So Sapp is the one at fault here.

    Again, I don’t like Shockey but do I think he has a case? Yeah. He’ll probably never play in the league again and that discourages whistleblowers from ALL companies.

  47. Here we go again . Sapp said he had a source that told him it was Shockey. On his Twitter account then since he worked on NFL Network they asked him about it . He Verified what he posted on his Twitter account and said he believed it was a reliable source . Not the league told him it was him his source his opinion . Stop all that trash on this site because Sapp said something about your team . Right is right the only way Shockey wins in court is if the judge is a complete idiot like the rest of you clowns that thinks he got a case.

  48. Shockey should be allowed to give Warren Sapp one free and unencumbered swift kick in the nuts…..all good now…..justice served….no lawyers….no BS…..just some simple straight forward real justice…..done. Warren will get over it and I think it’s fair retribution for Shockey.

    I guess I’m just “Old Fashioned”.

  49. Why the NFL would stick their neck out for Sapp I don’t know. If this gets big enough, I’m sure they’ll fire him. Dude called the league ‘Slave Drivers’ a few years ago….

  50. It looks like Sapp hurt Shockey’s feelings which is leading to plenty of drama. So I have a theory, call me crazy but has anyone actually seen Jeremy Shockey and Tori Spelling in the same place at the exact same time? Ever? I sense an even BIGGER story coming out of this.

  51. Shockey needs to go away and take his snitch ass to the CFL. Saints will pay you nothing! They didn’t tell anyone you Snitched, Sapp called you out on it! Get a life Shockey, you are a Rat..

  52. NFL Network under control of NFL. Warren Sapp under control of NFL.

    I bet that a judge and jury can wield a bigger hammer than little Roger has been doing.

    Many millions for damages and double it for the pomposity of the NFL head office.

  53. I hope he sues the shiat out of Sapp – and wins too. Funny that Sapp was calling Shockey a snitch when he goes out on twitter and TV to “snitch” on Shockey. What a douche.

    Strange that people talk about what a bad teammate he is/was and yet I don’t know a single Panthers fan that doesn’t want him back next year. I would think that the Panthers want him back too – just at a cheaper price.

    The guy plays with fire and wears it on his sleeve – Carolina has lacked that over the years – besides Steve Smith of course.

  54. I heard he got all the “whistle blowing” info from Rush L. Rush wants a video of the “blowing”.

  55. Whether or not Shockey would prevail in a lawsuit is a moot point. The point is that he has a legitimate complaint that could lead to a lawsuit. If Shockey pursues this matter the NFL will settle out of court without admitting blame with the provision that everything will be sealed.

  56. i cannot believe the love shockey is getting. sapp is annoying but so is shockey. all i need to remember is him refusing to come down and revel with his team mates after the giants sb win. shockey is a giant douche bag. who cares what he says?

  57. snookau says:Mar 23, 2012 3:17 PM

    How could Shockey be the whistle blower anyways? The NFL claims it found out about the bounties during the 2010 season – WHILE Shockey was still in New Orleans. Only reason Shockey would whistle blow would be retaliation. And why would a guy retaliate against a team he still plays for?
    ==============
    If I remember correctly, there were allegations of bounties after the 2009 NFCCG, but they were only allegations. The NFL spoke to the Saints, they denied it. It was only after someone from the organization actually went to the NFL recently and admitted they had a bounty system for 3 years running that the NFL launched its investigation, and the rest is history.

  58. Shockey ain’t suing nobody. This is all for show to convince people that he’s not the guy. When it gets close to time, Shockey will back out – bet on it. It would be funny though, because the NFL would have to show evidence of who really told them and when. I think they new way before they took action and certainly Goodell doesn’t want that info out there.

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