"If you see something, say something," the signs announce.
The campaign grew out of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 1993 and 2001, and the message is that it's best not to keep silent when people's safety is in danger. Perhaps New Orleans should think about posting the same signs in the Superdome, because Darren Sharper and other apologists for the Saints' alleged "bounty" system apparently ascribe to a different slogan, taken from some communities' response to street violence: "Stop snitchin'."
That's the only conclusion to draw from Sharper's inflammatory comments since news broke last week that the Saints paid defensive players for delivering hits that caused serious, game-ending injuries to opponents.
While rational people worried how many careers might have been affected by such a system and how many other teams granted the same types of rewards, Sharper seemed preoccupied with getting some sort of revenge against the anonymous person he blames for the story going public.
"Someone that was formerly hired and that was formerly working for the Saints and that was relieved of his duties has a vendetta," Sharper told WWL radio in Louisiana, per Pro Football Talk. "And they're trying to get back and is upset about the fact he was let go by the Saints and is trying to make an issue out of something that was in-house and something that we did.
"[There] was no ill intent [in] what we did," he said, even though the NFL found that a pay-for-injury system clearly existed. "[It] was just about playing football, but now they're trying to make it into an issue to put a black mark on the Saints organization."
Sharper sounded like he was ready to mete out some justice.
"I believe his name will come out," he was quoted as saying. "I have the name."
Bombshell! Sharper has the name! Look out, Mystery Man!
And who is the unlucky transgressor?
"I've been informed of who we think that possibly is the guy that came out and become the quote-unquote snitch," Sharper elaborated. "It's another [name] that I believe will come out at a later date."
Translation: He has no clue — in more ways than one.
The Saints' whistleblower (of whom Sharper has been informed of who somebody thinks that possibly is the guy, in case you forgot) should be applauded, not threatened. Sharper's mindset is similar to the one that makes some residents clam up to police when a serious crime is committed in their community. The residents fear repercussions from not-so-upstanding citizens if they share information with authorities, and as a result criminals are free to commit more crimes.
Thanks to the NFL's report, all teams will be watched more closely for this type of activity. If there is the slightest sense that Sharper, or anyone else, plans to take action against the person they think is "possibly" the "snitch," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should get out his ol' authoritative battle ax and just expel him from football.
Perhaps Sharper should take this piece of advice: If you see something, say nothing, because whatever comes out of your mouth is nothing but noise.