Five days after the NFL put analyst Warren Sapp on NFL Network to declare that former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey blew the whistle on the team’s three-year bounty system, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on NFL Network that Shockey isn’t the whistleblower.
The comments came during a press conference held in connection with the annual league meetings.
Per multiple Twitter accounts of reporters who were covering the press conference, Goodell also took issue with Sapp’s use of the word “snitch” to describe the whistleblower.
Goodell said that NFL Network management will be responsible for imposing discipline, if any, on Sapp, subject to the possibility that Goodell would be asked to review any decision. NFLN previously has said that Sapp won’t be fired, but the network would not address whether other possible penalties would apply.
“Just like anyone in the media, you’re held accountable for your statements and sources,” Goodell said, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
A higher level of accountability applies here, given that the league needs to ensure that the whistleblower is protected from retaliations — for legal reasons, for business reasons, for safety reasons, and because it’s the right thing to do.
Over the weekend, we reported that Shockey has been meeting with lawyers, and that he’s “hell bent” on taking action of some kind against Sapp and/or the league. The best outcome for everyone would be for a team to sign Shockey; a report emerged on Sunday that he could still land with the Panthers.
If no team is interested, Shockey could always apply at NFL Network.