Learning the hard way
Shockey apologizes for remarks about ParcellsPosted: Saturday August 09, 2003 1:36 PM
Updated: Saturday August 09, 2003 8:03 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- On matters other than football, Jeremy Shockey plans on keeping his mouth shut for the foreseeable future.
With his head coach and a team spokesman monitoring his every word, the outspoken New York Giants tight end apologized on Saturday for making reported comments about Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, insisting his words were in jest.
"I apologize for everything I said that offended people," Shockey said. "I really, at the time, it was a laughing matter for me and I was just having fun with it."
Shockey is quoted as calling Parcells a "homo" in an upcoming story in New York magazine. He also criticized the former Giants' coach for retiring a couple of times, then returning to coaching.
"Let's see how much Parcells wins this year," Shockey said in the article. "I'll make him pay when we play them. The homo."
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said Friday that Shockey believes the writer mistook a lighthearted conversation he was having with a friend as being serious, and incorrectly attributed the word "homo" to Shockey rather than the friend.
Shockey said Saturday he takes responsibility for his part in the conversation.
A seemingly indifferent Shockey never mentioned Parcells directly in his latest apology for yet another poor choice of words. In September, he made inflammatory remarks about gays on the Howard Stern's radio show.
Shockey, who set team records for receptions by a rookie and a tight end in a Pro Bowl rookie season, reluctantly accepted responsibility for the current situation, saying it was his fault for letting the reporter "get the best of me."
He vowed to avoid any future controversy.
"I am going to be as plain as possible," Shockey said. "You'll probably never hear me say an outrageous thing ever again. I'll probably never talk to you again."
New York magazine spokeswoman Serena Torrey said Friday the magazine stands by the story and the reporting by writer Chris Smith.
Smith has worked for the magazine for 15 years. His interview with Shockey, conducted last month, was taped, Torrey said.
Fassel didn't think Shockey would shut down completely with the media, but he was confident the second-year player would tone things down. The coach also said he did not think the latest controversy would affect the way Shockey plays football.
The two had a 30-minute meeting on Saturday in which Fassel did most of the talking and Shockey agreed to limit what he says and does off the field.
"I am fairly confident, very confident, that he is sincere that he is going to curtail it," said Fassel, adding that Shockey won't do any interviews or business and personal appearances without his knowledge.
Fassel said Shockey has a lot to learn about dealing with the media, noting that the Oklahoma native never realized comments he made to Maxim magazine about sexual fantasies would be picked up by New York metropolitan-area newspapers.
Giants teammates seemed to be willing to give Shockey the benefit of the doubt.
"He's young," halfback Tiki Barber said. "He doesn't realize people will interpret the things he says quite so literally."
Defensive end Michael Strahan said athletes have to be smart when talking.
"You have to realize what you say is going to be interpreted by different people, and how you say it will be interpreted different ways," the NFL single-season sack leader said. "Just don't offend anybody."
Shockey caught 74 passes for 894 yards in his rookie year, becoming an immediate star.
He drew attention off the field as well. There was a training camp fight with linebacker Brandon Short.
During the Giants' playoff loss to San Francisco, Shockey made
an obscene gesture and threw a cup of ice over his shoulder that
struck some youngsters in the stands behind the Giants' bench. The
NFL fined him $10,000.