On Friday, former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey failed to show for an interview on The Dan Patrick Show because Shockey was in a meeting. It later was disclosed that he was meeting with a lawyer.
A league source tells PFT that Shockey has indeed been meeting with multiple lawyers, in order to devise a strategy for dealing with recent comments from NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp accusing Shockey of being the “snitch” who exposed the Saints’ three-year bounty system.
“He’s hell bent on doing something,” the source said of Shockey’s intentions.
That “something” could be the filing of a lawsuit. But that could make Shockey even less attractive to teams that currently are on the fence, at best, about the prospect of signing him.
Before Sapp’s comments, some teams were, we’re told, “mildly interested” in adding Shockey to the team. If stronger interest isn’t shown soon, Shockey could indeed resort to legal action.
It would be hard to blame him. If Shockey was indeed the whistleblower (and we’re told he wasn’t), he has federal rights against retaliation of any kind. If Shockey wasn’t the whistleblower, his rights would arise from notions of defamation.
A lawyer also could argue that, while Shockey isn’t the whistleblower, he’s being regarded as the whistleblower, and he’s suffering retaliation for something he didn’t do.
Regardless of any legal rights or remedies, the NFL never should have allowed any speculation or discussion or debate regarding the situation on its air. The far bigger concern is, in our view, individual safety, and if Shockey is perceived to be the “snitch” who helped tarnish a Super Bowl trophy and derail the quest for another one, a zealous and crazy Saints fan could decide to do something about it.
The league also should be concerned about the impact of this controversy on future investigations. Any player or coach who is thinking about blowing the whistle on wrongful activities may think twice about getting involved, given that the league-owned network showed zero appreciation of the importance of protecting those who cooperate with sensitive investigations regarding inflammatory circumstances.