Shannon Sharpe, CBS sports analyst and one of the panel on “NFL Today,” issued a statement Wednesday saying he would “step aside from the ‘NFL Today’ show until this matter is resolved.” The matter of which he speaks is a temporary restraining order petitioned for by a woman believed to be or had at one time been Sharpe’s girlfriend, Michele Bundy. The temporary restraining order, filed last Thursday in Atlanta’s Fulton County Superior Court, according to Sports by Brooks, accused Sharpe of forcing Michele Bundy to have sex (sexual assault), stalking, and threatening her life multiple times.
In documents obtained by Sports by Brooks, the petition lists the allegations:
“Forced to have sex with him. he repeatedly calls and threatens her life. Places her under surveillance and calls to say he is watching her.”
Shannon Sharpe has not addressed the sexual assault accusations (or the stalking or death threat allegations) against him, nor has he been arrested, even though the actions he is accused of are criminal in nature. The temporary restraining order was granted, and forbids Sharpe to come within 200 yards of Michele Bundy or her daughter, who was included in the protective order petition. The petition was categorized under “family violence” due to a minor being involved. The former NFL star was also ordered to have no contact whatsoever with Bundy.
It is as yet unclear the exact nature of the relationship between Sharpe and Michele Bundy. Also unclear is Sharpe’s relationship to the child named in the petition.
A hearing has been set for Sept. 20 to determine whether or not a more permanent restraining order should be granted.
Shannon Sharpe, who played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, holds most of the major NFL receiving records for the tight end position, and is considered to be in line for induction to the NFL Hall of Fame.
Sharpe joined “NFL Today” as an analyst in 2004. Although criticized for his poor grammar and pronunciation skills, Shannon Sharpe’s colorful commentary and incisive analyses of gameplay has made him a mainstay on the “NFL Today” panel.
CBS, for their part, was as reticent as Sharpe in the matter. LeslieAnne Wade, CBS Senior Vice President of Communications, stated on behalf of the network: “We accept Shannon’s decision and decline to comment further on a pending legal matter.”
Although the news broke before the weekend, the Shannon Sharpe sexual assault and stalking allegations did not seem to produce much of a reaction in the sporting world, overshadowed by Week 1 of NFL regular season play and the sexual harassment allegations against the New York Jets on behalf of TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz by the Association for Women in Sports Media. In fact, Sharpe performed his regular duties as analyst Sunday without comment on the case. Apparently, he now believes that the case, until resolved, will be a distraction, not only to his work at “NFL Today” but also to the network and CBS Sports as the media focus on the sexual assault and the possibility of scandal.