Jeremy Shockey, an NFL free agent, isn’t letting Warren Sapp forget that he works for the NFL and his comments aren’t helping his case to find an employer for the 2012 season. In a phone conversation this afternoon, Shockey tells BC that Sapp “needs to retract and apologize” for saying the NFL vet was the Saints bounty whistleblower. We also have texts that add context to the Sean Payton-Shockey relationship.
“It was just a stupid move on his part,” Shockey said about Sapp’s snitch allegation that has caused extra drama in the Saints story.”This came out of nowhere and now I can’t even enjoy my offseason. I have a huge fan base in New Orleans. We won a Super Bowl. And now my name is being dragged through the mud.”
Shockey says that he’s not sure what punishment he’d like to see for Sapp. “I don’t know what he has against me, but in the end I have bigger things in my life than Warren Sapp.”
Fox Sports is reporting that Sapp could face severe consequences for naming Shockey as a whistleblower. Federal labor law “protects employees against retribution as result of complaining about unsafe work environments.”
The fact that Sapp might have outed a whistle-blower could pose a problem for the analyst and the NFL, according to Los Angeles-based employment lawyer Arthur Whang, the principal of Whang Law Firm.
“Sapp is technically a league employee,” Whang said. “If Shockey is the whistle-blower, he is protected. So, by outing him, Sapp may have opened Shockey up to retaliation, such as someone not signing him.“
Shockey provided us with earlier texts between himself and Payton that took place December 31 as the Carolina Panthers were flying to New Orleans for a New Year’s Day game against the Saints. Shockey, who had three catches for 18 yards, tells us the ‘her’ Payton is referencing is his mother.
“He’s very close with my family,” Shockey says about his former coach. “My mom is a huge Sean Payton and Saints fan.”