NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp set himself up for a very nice retaliation lawsuit after going on television yesterday and claiming free agent tight end Jeremy Shockey was "the snitch" who tipped off the NFL about the New Orleans Saints bounty program. Shockey, who played three seasons in New Orleans, denied the claim, and volunteered to take a "liar detector test on ESPN" to prove it. Because Sapp, a seven-time Pro Bowler, works for the NFL Network, which is owned by the NFL, Shockey conceivably could file a retaliation lawsuit against the league. It's also problematic because Commissioner Roger Goodell has stressed that the league would offer "protection" to staffers or players who come forward and report wrongdoing. That's tough to claim when a league employee is going on a league-owned television network and identifying whistleblowers by name. So far, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has offered "no explanation" for why the network let the segment air. [Yahoo Sports]
Back to Shockey: he's very anxious for people to know he was not the Bountygate snitch/rat/tattle/squealer/protected source/whistleblower/good citizen. So anxious, in fact, that he took a picture of a text message exchange he had last night with freshly exiled Saints coach Sean Payton and posted it to his Twitter page. Payton's support for his former player is gracious, but we're more interested in that dangling "hug!!!!!!" from their last conversation. [@JeremyShockey]
Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has announced he's going to retire after the upcoming season. He'll almost certainly make the Hall of Fame, since he currently has a .304 career batting average, 454 home runs, 1,561 RBI, and has played his entire 18-year career with the Braves organization. He'll also go down as one of the champion complainers of the modern era. "Substandard" umpires, in-grown toenails, his own diminishing skill set: Jones sniffed and sulked about them all. [AP]
SI.com has a compelling piece about how grouchy former New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury has captured the imagination of Chinese basketball fans since joining the Beijing Ducks in 2010. Chinese basketball has had a rough year, what with the brawl against Georgetown and the NBA all but giving up on plans to establish a Chinese affiliate league, but this is a pretty great story. Even more remarkable is the fact that reporter Bryan Armen Graham pulled it off without speaking to Marbury, because the point guard "turned down multiple requests to speak with SI.com unless he was guaranteed the cover of Sports Illustrated." Stephon Marbury: still got it. [SI.com]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.