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NFL Net Says Warren Sapp Will Not Be Fired For Calling Shockey Bountygate "Snitch"
Published March 26, 2012
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PARAMETERS OF THE PUNISHMENT: In N.Y., Judy Battista noted the Saints' penalties handed down by the NFL for the Bountygate scandal "was said to have stunned" coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for a year without pay, as well as the Saints. Payton, whose duties "include personnel matters and calling offensive plays, must stop working on April 1." A source said that the league’s edict "did not offer details but broadly prohibited Payton from being involved in coaching the team." Battista asked, "Could he buy a ticket to sit in the stands at a game? Probably. Could he have a three-hour phone call with Brees to discuss the game plan? No." The NFL has "no realistic way of monitoring Payton’s interaction" with QB Drew Brees or anyone else in the organization. But the "implication is that if the NFL finds out that Payton has violated the suspension, he will be in even deeper trouble." Meanwhile, reps for ESPN, NBC and CBS on Friday indicated that they "had no plans to hire" Payton. But Fox Sports, which carries NFC games during the season "is open to the possibility." Fox Senior VP/Communications Lou D'Ermilio said, "Our feeling about Sean is that he’s bright, articulate and obviously contemporary. Any network with NFL rights would have to consider it.” The league responded in a statement: “He is suspended from the NFL for the season. His involvement in any non-NFL employment or business matters is not our decision" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25).
ON THE AIRWAVES? In N.Y., Bob Raissman cited a network exec as saying about Payton and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, "Putting one of these guys on, as a regular guest or analyst, would be a slap at the NFL. I don’t think that could happen. I also don’t know what’s in the language of the suspensions, but (the suspension) could be from any or all NFL-related participation. The decision may already have been made.” Raissman asked, "Who would be the better NFL analyst Payton or Williams?" A network exec said, "I don’t see Payton as a good TV analyst. He should lay low and go scout college games. Gregg Williams is the more intriguing pick. He’s got something different going for him. Now he’s viewed as a renegade, a sinister character. Younger viewers are attracted to that." Meanwhile, Raissman asked, "Will Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos be seen early on the NFL’s prime-time TV stage? Doubt it." Word is both NBC and ESPN "are concerned about Manning having a physical setback and not being able to play from the get-go." Then they would be "stuck with a game they feel will be unable to generate the kind of TV ratings a Manning-led Broncos team would produce" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/25).