Falcons were reportedly ‘blindsided’ by Julio Jones’ comments to Shannon Sharpe


The Falcons’ ongoing Julio Jones drama took a wild turn Monday when the disgruntled receiver stated in no uncertain terms his desire to leave Atlanta in a live phone call with Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe. Per Michael McCarthy and A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, the Falcons were “blindsided” by the exchange, with sources confirming the team had “no advance knowledge” of Jones' appearance on Undisputed. The Falcons fear Jones’ comments to Sharpe “undercut their negotiating position,” inviting low-ball offers from potential suitors who think they can pry him away for pennies on the dollar.

There have been conflicting reports about whether or not Jones knew he was on television (some have speculated the Pro Bowler didn’t, but also doesn’t care), which could be a violation of California Penal Code Section 632, better known as the “two-party consent” law. According to McCarthy and Perez, Sharpe’s on-air stunt has already put a “strain” on Fox’s relationship with the league, potentially leaving them with “less access and cooperation” from both the Falcons and the NFL. ESPN weathered a similar fallout with the league in 2013 (the NFL was unhappy with their participation in a Frontline special exploring concussions), which many point to as a factor in ESPN’s underwhelming primetime slate despite paying over $2 billion a year for broadcasting rights.

Along with its effect on the Falcons and the NFL, Monday’s viral moment could also impact Sharpe’s extension talks with Fox, who could see him as a liability for putting the network in a compromising position. While Sharpe certainly generated plenty of free publicity for Undisputed, a show he co-hosts alongside ESPN alum Skip Bayless, many have questioned his methods, characterizing the decision to record Jones (potentially without his knowledge) as both reckless and unprofessional. Sharpe weathered similar criticism last month when he mistakenly attributed a fake quote to Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Durant.

Now that Jones has made his intentions clear, players around the league are putting on the full-court press with DeAndre Hopkins, Darius Slay and A.J. Brown among countless stars openly recruiting the talented 32-year-old.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Cindy Ord, Getty Images