Did Julio Jones know he was on the air?


Julio Jones’ comments to Fox Sports host Shannon Sharpe on Monday’s Undisputed, claiming to be done with the Atlanta Falcons—his team of the past 10 seasons—nearly broke Twitter earlier today. The rumors have been out there for weeks (the Falcons, who need to clear cap room to sign their draft picks, are reportedly seeking a first-rounder for Jones), though Julio has never been one to air his grievances publicly, which is why Monday’s reveal on Undisputed was so jarring.

How Sharpe coaxed that information out of Jones, cold-calling the wide receiver during a live segment, left many in the sports media field feeling uneasy. The way Jones let his guard down, speaking candidly on his Falcons future, has some wondering if the 32-year-old knew he was on the air. It’s been suggested the call between Sharpe and Julio was staged, though the overwhelming consensus seems to think Jones had no idea FS1’s cameras were rolling.

Sharpe is a former professional athlete with no formal training as a reporter, but that doesn’t let him off the hook for recording Jones without permission, which is illegal in California under the state’s “two-party consent law” regarding wiretapping. If Jones feels Sharpe betrayed his confidence, he could pursue criminal charges or file a civil lawsuit against him. There’s also the potential for Fox to reprimand or even fire Sharpe for crossing what many consider a clear ethical boundary.

Maybe nothing will come of it, but if Sharpe did indeed expose what was meant to be a private phone call for entertainment purposes, it would be a serious breach of journalism ethics and an objectively bad look for Fox Sports.

LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign Up and Follow Audacy Sports
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images