Over the last few days, we have seen the NFL come down hard on the New Orleans Saints franchise in response to the “bounty-gate” scandal. Head Coach Sean Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season, the team has been fined $500K and two second round draft picks, and General Manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for the first 8 games of 2012, assistant coach Joe Vitt won’t see the field for the first six games, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely.
Through all of the ruckus, a lot of information and opinions have been thrown around about the investigation and the actions of Roger Goodell. One of the more interesting things that has been said, though, came from the mouth of former Buccaneer-turned-reporter Warren Sapp. Sapp claims that his sources have informed him that Jeremy Shockey, former TE for the Saints, was the whistle blower on the entire scandal.The war of words between the two began with a tweet from Warren Sapp that simply read “Just heard who the snitch was”. When a follower responded with “Shockey?” Sapp simply retweeted “BINGO!”. Shockey’s immediate response in an attempt to defend himself can be seen below.
There’s no way to tell just by Sapp’s words whether it’s true or not, since he didn’t divulge who his sources were. Credibility has to be a question here when it comes to unnamed sources in cases like these. Whether or not it’s true isn’t the issue here, though. What I have a serious problem with is the response that Shockey has gotten from the general population of football fans. Just a look at Shockey’s facebook page shows how brutal fans can be when their team’s reputation is harmed.
With today’s easy access to media outlets like Facebook, hate flows freely when information like this is leaked, whether it is true or not. As soon as the information was released, fans were outraged without even wondering if it was true or not. This is very similar to the debacle after the NFC title game in which backup punt returner Kyle Wiliams’s late fumble cost the 49ers a chance at the Super Bowl in many fans minds. Hatred and threats of violence were spewed from the mouths (and keyboards) of fans without even wondering how horrible he must have already felt after the game. The same thing is happening to Shockey now, except one big difference.
There’s no concrete evidence that Jeremy Shockey was the “snitch” of the entire scandal.
sure, he may be a bit of a loudmouth sometimes, and he may have felt spurned by the Saints when he was released and eventually landed with divison rival Carolina, but until a true source comes forward with evidence, Jeremy Shockey is innocent until proven guilty. To the contrary of a lot of fans immediate beliefs, Jeremy Shockey actually brought forth his own evidence to clear his name.
As much of a boneheaded move it was for coach Payton to not blow the whistle himself on the entire scandal as soon as he found out about it, I still consider him a class act in the league, and for the most part a trustworthy guy.
For now, all I ask is that NFL fans hold their judgement of this man until there is some sort of concrete evidence that he was involved in “snitching”. And for God sakes, how about we show a bit of class as fans. Lets not spew hatred on a social network like Facebook or Twitter towards a person that you do not know. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m on a bit of a rant here, but things like this really bug me. Being able to use the internet to keep track of your favorite athletes/celebrities/personalities is a privilege and not a right. Don’t use that privilege to spread a message of hatred. We as a nation of football fans are classier than that.
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