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https://frontofficesports.com/julio-jones-interview-becomes-headache-for-fox-shannon-sharpe/

 

Julio Jones Interview Becomes Headache for Fox, Shannon Sharpe

 

Shannon Sharpe’s controversial TV interview with Julio Jones has ignited a “massive stink bomb,” said a source, putting a strain on the billion-dollar relationship between Fox Sports and the NFL.

The Atlanta Falcons were blindsided, the same source told Front Office Sports, when Sharpe aired a phone call with Jones on Monday’s “Undisputed” when the star wide receiver all but declared he was done with the team.

It’s unclear whether the 32-year old Jones who has been the subject of trade rumors since the 2020 season ended knew he was live on the air with Sharpe and co-star Skip Bayless. 

The Falcons, according to sources, believe the interview — where Jones told Sharpe “I’m out of there, man” about Atlanta while also dismissing the Dallas Cowboys — undercut their negotiating position as they try to trade the All-Pro wide receiver to another NFL club. 

The team had no advance knowledge or input into the interview. 

Sources said Jones’ reps at Creative Artists Agency have reached out to Fox about the situation. 

“It’s become a huge deal,” said one source.

But during a slow news period for the league, former NFL front office executive Mike Lombardi said he believes the media coverage could actually strengthen the negotiating position of Atlanta, which finished last place in the NFC South with a 4-12 record in 2020. 

The Falcons, who haven’t made a playoff appearance since the 2017 season, also fired GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn following an 0-5 start last year.

“The thing that makes trades great for the team is to have interest. And there’s interest in Julio,” said Lombardi, co-host of “The GM Shuffle” podcast. “As long as you have competitive interest, they’ll maximize the deal.”

Andrew Brandt, the former Green Bay Packers vice president who now writes the “Sunday Seven” newsletter, said he can’t blame the Falcons for being frustrated.

“The Falcons are not going to be happy with this — and they will express their angst to the NFL,” Brandt said. “Payback’s too strong a word. But they will hope for some kind of stroke down the road.”

The Falcons declined to comment on the record Tuesday. Fox, CAA and the NFL did not return messages left by FOS.

Jones seemingly saying goodbye to the Falcons comes at a crucial inflection point for the team. Only one quarter of NFL teams have the cap space to assume his guaranteed $15.3 million salary, according to CBSSports.com.

Jones signed a three-year, $66 million extension prior to the 2019 season — and $64 million of that guaranteed.

One prominent NFL agent not affiliated with CAA told FOS that Atlanta is now “boxed into a corner” as result of Monday’s segment. 

“He’s a world-class talent regardless of age, health, and contract,” the agent said. “If I’m a team like Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Buffalo, Tennessee, Baltimore or Seattle, I’m sending whatever picks I have to Atlanta to get him.”

The fallout could just be starting for Fox, which recently agreed to pay over $2 billion a year for 11 seasons to retain its Sunday afternoon NFL TV package. 

Among potential consequences for Fox:

Blowback: The NFL has its ways of handling its TV partners. The Falcons could quietly seek an on-air apology or some other redress from Fox. If not forthcoming, Fox could end up in the doghouse among the league’s TV partners, which include NBC, CBS, and ESPN.

That could mean less access and cooperation from the team and other NFL clubs. Or, the worst case scenario for an NFL TV partner, the bad blood could lead to poor game matchups.

The New York Times reported in 2013 the NFL “voiced its displeasure” with ESPN’s involvement with PBS’ “Frontline” special on concussions days before the network dropped out of the project. Then-ESPN president John Skipper and the NFL denied the league applied pressure over the production. 

Even though ESPN then paid the most among the league’s NFL TV at $2 billion a year, “MNF” annually got the worst game matchups. It took new ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro and executive vice president Burke Magnus years to repair the frayed relationship.

Legal jeopardy: FS1’s “Undisputed” is produced out of Fox Sports’ studios in Los Angeles. California is a two-party consent state when it comes to capturing a phone conversation like what aired Monday. 

That means both Jones and Sharpe would have to have knowledge the call was being aired/recorded. 

Sharpe could face a misdemeanor charge for violation of California Penal Code Sec. 632, although there’d have to be a complaint filed. This particular misdemeanor carries up to a $2,000 fine and/or a year in jail. 

“It meets every criteria under the penal code,” California-based criminal defense attorney Dod Ghassemkhani said. “It will come down to if Jones wants to pursue it. I doubt he will.”

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told FOS Tuesday that no complaint had been filed.

Fox Fallout?: Publicity-wise, Sharpe’s Jones get was a triumph for “Undisputed,” generating massive free media coverage. Even rival ESPN credited “Undisputed” for the Jones scoop on Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” Tuesday.

Sharpe’s been in negotiations for a contract extension. The interview highlighted his influence and access to today’s stars. Bayless spiked the ball Tuesday, calling “Undisputed” the “hottest” sports show on TV. “You never know what might happen,” crowed Bayless on Twitter. 

But the controversial incident also raises questions how and why Fox producers let Sharpe conduct an interview that could not only put the network in hot water with their most important business partner but legal jeopardy as well.

“It was creative and organic. But it was unprofessional as well,” said another source. “You have to tell someone they’re on TV. And not just at the end of the segment to cover your ***.”

The interview follows the embarrassment in April where NBA superstar Kevin Durant called out Sharpe for repeating a fake quote on-air from Twitter that he never actually said.  

“This is on the production team. The producers have to do their job,” said a source. “Their job is to protect Shannon and Skip. When something like this happens, you go to a commercial and figure it out — before they get in trouble.”

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12 minutes ago, atljbo said:

https://frontofficesports.com/julio-jones-interview-becomes-headache-for-fox-shannon-sharpe/

 

Julio Jones Interview Becomes Headache for Fox, Shannon Sharpe

 

Shannon Sharpe’s controversial TV interview with Julio Jones has ignited a “massive stink bomb,” said a source, putting a strain on the billion-dollar relationship between Fox Sports and the NFL.

The Atlanta Falcons were blindsided, the same source told Front Office Sports, when Sharpe aired a phone call with Jones on Monday’s “Undisputed” when the star wide receiver all but declared he was done with the team.

It’s unclear whether the 32-year old Jones who has been the subject of trade rumors since the 2020 season ended knew he was live on the air with Sharpe and co-star Skip Bayless. 

The Falcons, according to sources, believe the interview — where Jones told Sharpe “I’m out of there, man” about Atlanta while also dismissing the Dallas Cowboys — undercut their negotiating position as they try to trade the All-Pro wide receiver to another NFL club. 

The team had no advance knowledge or input into the interview. 

Sources said Jones’ reps at Creative Artists Agency have reached out to Fox about the situation. 

“It’s become a huge deal,” said one source.

But during a slow news period for the league, former NFL front office executive Mike Lombardi said he believes the media coverage could actually strengthen the negotiating position of Atlanta, which finished last place in the NFC South with a 4-12 record in 2020. 

The Falcons, who haven’t made a playoff appearance since the 2017 season, also fired GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn following an 0-5 start last year.

“The thing that makes trades great for the team is to have interest. And there’s interest in Julio,” said Lombardi, co-host of “The GM Shuffle” podcast. “As long as you have competitive interest, they’ll maximize the deal.”

Andrew Brandt, the former Green Bay Packers vice president who now writes the “Sunday Seven” newsletter, said he can’t blame the Falcons for being frustrated.

“The Falcons are not going to be happy with this — and they will express their angst to the NFL,” Brandt said. “Payback’s too strong a word. But they will hope for some kind of stroke down the road.”

The Falcons declined to comment on the record Tuesday. Fox, CAA and the NFL did not return messages left by FOS.

Jones seemingly saying goodbye to the Falcons comes at a crucial inflection point for the team. Only one quarter of NFL teams have the cap space to assume his guaranteed $15.3 million salary, according to CBSSports.com.

Jones signed a three-year, $66 million extension prior to the 2019 season — and $64 million of that guaranteed.

One prominent NFL agent not affiliated with CAA told FOS that Atlanta is now “boxed into a corner” as result of Monday’s segment. 

“He’s a world-class talent regardless of age, health, and contract,” the agent said. “If I’m a team like Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Buffalo, Tennessee, Baltimore or Seattle, I’m sending whatever picks I have to Atlanta to get him.”

The fallout could just be starting for Fox, which recently agreed to pay over $2 billion a year for 11 seasons to retain its Sunday afternoon NFL TV package. 

Among potential consequences for Fox:

Blowback: The NFL has its ways of handling its TV partners. The Falcons could quietly seek an on-air apology or some other redress from Fox. If not forthcoming, Fox could end up in the doghouse among the league’s TV partners, which include NBC, CBS, and ESPN.

That could mean less access and cooperation from the team and other NFL clubs. Or, the worst case scenario for an NFL TV partner, the bad blood could lead to poor game matchups.

The New York Times reported in 2013 the NFL “voiced its displeasure” with ESPN’s involvement with PBS’ “Frontline” special on concussions days before the network dropped out of the project. Then-ESPN president John Skipper and the NFL denied the league applied pressure over the production. 

Even though ESPN then paid the most among the league’s NFL TV at $2 billion a year, “MNF” annually got the worst game matchups. It took new ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro and executive vice president Burke Magnus years to repair the frayed relationship.

Legal jeopardy: FS1’s “Undisputed” is produced out of Fox Sports’ studios in Los Angeles. California is a two-party consent state when it comes to capturing a phone conversation like what aired Monday. 

That means both Jones and Sharpe would have to have knowledge the call was being aired/recorded. 

Sharpe could face a misdemeanor charge for violation of California Penal Code Sec. 632, although there’d have to be a complaint filed. This particular misdemeanor carries up to a $2,000 fine and/or a year in jail. 

“It meets every criteria under the penal code,” California-based criminal defense attorney Dod Ghassemkhani said. “It will come down to if Jones wants to pursue it. I doubt he will.”

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told FOS Tuesday that no complaint had been filed.

Fox Fallout?: Publicity-wise, Sharpe’s Jones get was a triumph for “Undisputed,” generating massive free media coverage. Even rival ESPN credited “Undisputed” for the Jones scoop on Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” Tuesday.

Sharpe’s been in negotiations for a contract extension. The interview highlighted his influence and access to today’s stars. Bayless spiked the ball Tuesday, calling “Undisputed” the “hottest” sports show on TV. “You never know what might happen,” crowed Bayless on Twitter. 

But the controversial incident also raises questions how and why Fox producers let Sharpe conduct an interview that could not only put the network in hot water with their most important business partner but legal jeopardy as well.

“It was creative and organic. But it was unprofessional as well,” said another source. “You have to tell someone they’re on TV. And not just at the end of the segment to cover your ***.”

The interview follows the embarrassment in April where NBA superstar Kevin Durant called out Sharpe for repeating a fake quote on-air from Twitter that he never actually said.  

“This is on the production team. The producers have to do their job,” said a source. “Their job is to protect Shannon and Skip. When something like this happens, you go to a commercial and figure it out — before they get in trouble.”

I bet julio knew about this in advance and Shannon is just helping julio get out of Atlanta..this whole thing is a **** show someone from someone's camp needs to address this soon.

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9 minutes ago, RoddyWhite84 said:

I bet julio knew about this in advance and Shannon is just helping julio get out of Atlanta..this whole thing is a **** show someone from someone's camp needs to address this soon.

I doubt fox will take the blame for Julio. Fox will be forced to investigate and answer to NFL. 

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6 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

Sounds like he is trying to do damage control. With yesterday’s move Falcons don’t have to be nice to Julio. They can opt to not trade him and say the trade value dropped. Heck Falcons could be looking at tampering angle right now.

Tampering against who?

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1 minute ago, falcons007 said:

I doubt fox will take the blame for Julio. Fox will be forced to investigate and answer to NFL. 

Oh fox is going to 10,000 percent bend the knee on this one too much on the line not too..but the speed in which this all has gone down hill is insane to me and how u got Harry Douglas out here saying julio has bad blood with someone or someone's in the organization for a while now..jesus christ I just want all this to be done one way or the other.

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Just now, RoddyWhite84 said:

Oh fox is going to 10,000 percent bend the knee on this one too much on the line not too..but the speed in which this all has gone down hill is insane to me and how u got Harry Douglas out here saying julio has bad blood with someone or someone's in the organization for a while now..jesus christ I just want all this to be done one way or the other.

Fox isn’t dumb to take financial hit for Julio. ESPN learnt it hard way and it took new CEO to mend the relationship with NFL. Julio is nobody for Fox if NFL comes hard on Fox.

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2 minutes ago, Cole World said:

Tampering against who?

That’s the investigation NFL will look in to with Fox. Either ways this is damage control by Julio’s camp. Falcons can call his bluff with reports coming out AB, As and others not happy. 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

That’s the investigation NFL will look in to with Fox. Either ways this is damage control by Julio’s camp. Falcons can call his bluff with reports coming out AB, As and others not happy. 

Falcons can’t get anybody for tampering because SS is not associated with any team. The Falcons can only go after Julio for conduct detrimental to the team. But that would be hard if Julio in fact didn’t know he was being recorded.

Edited by Cole World
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5 minutes ago, Cole World said:

Falcons can’t get anybody for tampering because SS is not associated with any team. The Falcons can only go after Julio for conduct detrimental to the team. But that would be hard if Julio in fact didn’t know he was being recorded.

Who they can or can’t is different. But they will investigate this from all angles. If Julio didn’t know then I can see some real anxious folks in Fox sports senior management. NFL doesn’t take these antics lightly. We could see the same ESPN debacle play out with Fox.

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Blank, McKay, Fontenot, and Smith all need to be all over Goddell to make this right, since we potentially just got royally screwed out of leverage in a trade negotiation by one of the NFL’s business partners. A public apology from Sharpe, Fox Sports, and an extra 2nd in next year’s draft should do the trick. 😁

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7 minutes ago, Cole World said:

Falcons can’t get anybody for tampering because SS is not associated with any team. The Falcons can only go after Julio for conduct detrimental to the team. But that would be hard if Julio in fact didn’t know he was being recorded.

It’s not so much about the Falcons pinning it on Fox as it is about the Falcons being able to say to the NFL that Julio’s trade value has been diminished.  The Falcons can use that angle against the league to claim “tampering”, and therefore look to the league for retribution of some sort (financial levity, draft compensation, etc).  

The league would then go after Fox.

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7 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

Who they can or can’t is different. But they will investigate this from all angles. If Julio didn’t know then I can see some real anxious folks in Fox sports senior management. NFL doesn’t take these antics lightly. We could see the same ESPN debacle play out with Fox.

Yeah I wasn’t talking about the NFL. I was referring to the Falcons as you mentioned. 

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8 minutes ago, KRUNKuno said:

It’s not so much about the Falcons pinning it on Fox as it is about the Falcons being able to say to the NFL that Julio’s trade value has been diminished.  The Falcons can use that angle against the league to claim “tampering”, and therefore look to the league for retribution of some sort (financial levity, draft compensation, etc).  

The league would then go after Fox.

I doubt the NFL will reward the Falcons anything. If anything they will tell the Falcons to fine Julio (if he knew)

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5 minutes ago, Cole World said:

I doubt the NFL will reward the Falcons anything. If anything they will tell the Falcons to fine Julio (if he knew)

They don’t have to reward Falcons directly. It could be against Fox. 

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4 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

They don’t have to reward Falcons directly. It could be against Fox. 

Hold up what are we talking about here?

I’m not disputing the NFL can go after Fox for misconduct. I’m talking about the Falcons and tampering. 
 

It’s not tampering because it wasn’t a club involved. 
 

 

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Just now, Cole World said:

Hold up what are we talking about here?

I’m not disputing the NFL can go after Fox for misconduct. I’m talking about the Falcons and tampering. 
 

It’s not tampering because it wasn’t a club involved. 
 

 

It doesn’t have to be a club. I think you are looking at it too narrowly with a club involved. 

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1 minute ago, falcons007 said:

It doesn’t have to be a club. I think you are looking at it too narrowly with a club involved. 

It does 

The NFL defines tampering as “Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media.’’ “Any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL’’ isalso a violation of the NFL’s anti-tampering policy.

 

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