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Hall of Fame presenter laments Sapp’s recent off-field issues

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Whenever we suggest that the sportswriters and broadcasters with the keys to the Hall of Fame consider as part of their deliberations factors such as off-field behavior and/or whether and to what extent the candidate was a jerk, one of the voters inevitably will claim that “no one has ever said ‘I’m not voting for [insert name of player who may be a jerk] because he was a jerk,'” and we inevitably will respond by saying, “No one is dumb enough to admit to it, but it remains an unspoken factor.”

Reinforcing our theory is Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, a Hall of Fame voter who’ll be charged with the task of convincing enough of his colleagues to give a thumb’s up to former Buccaneers and Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp in February 2013.  As Kaufman recently explained on WHBO-AM radio (via, he’s concerned that recent controversies regarding Sapp will make it harder to make the case for induction.

He’s killin’ me.  He’s killin’ me,” Kaufman said of Sapp.  “And by that I mean that in nine months it’s going my pleasure, my privilege to present the case for No. 99 in front of the Hall of Fame panel.  Forty-four people are going to be looking at him.  I have very powerful ammo to get this man in, I believe, based on the merits of what he did on the football field.

“But you’re right.  Some of those people in that room are looking for a reason to vote ‘no’ on this guy based on the way he treated them.  We don’t need anymore ammo.  We don’t need him getting fired from NFL Network, which could happen.  We don’t need the bankruptcy.  We don’t need him getting him in trouble with Jeremy Shockey.  Whether it’s true or not, he shouldn’t have said it.  All these ancillary things are not helping my case.  So from a very selfish and personal point of view, he’s killin’ me.”

It’s no secret that Sapp has few fans in the media.  At times, he can be very engaging and charming.  At other times, well, he can be neither engaging nor charming, to say the least.

But according to the voters who don’t want to see the voting process change, none of those extraneous issues even enter the thought processes of the folks who determine who does and who doesn’t get in.

Kaufman’s candid comments should forever put to rest the idea that the voters consider only on-field football feats.  The human beings who have to come up with a pass/fail assessment for each candidate are influenced by the factors that typically influence human beings.  And even if they know they shouldn’t consider the way Sapp treated them or Sapp’s comments about Shockey or the fact that Sapp filed bankruptcy or his claim (which some in the media find dubious) that he has lost a Super Bowl ring that otherwise would have been sold to pay off his debts or his ownership of a “Large Nude women painting,” at some level those thoughts are going to creep into their brains.

Of course, if the folks who determine who gets in to the Hall of Fame would like to try to prove Kaufman wrong, they can put Sapp through on the first ballot.  But that won’t change the fact that, regardless of what the Hall of Fame’s bylaws say, the voters can’t limit their focus to the space between the white lines.  Maybe the only way to fix this flaw is to change the rules so that they don’t have to try.

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34 Responses to “Hall of Fame presenter laments Sapp’s recent off-field issues”
  1. irishgary says: Apr 12, 2012 9:31 AM

    As much as I dislike Sapp and think he is incredibly stupid. Hios stupidity should not factor into HOF consideration

  2. wipackman1265 says: Apr 12, 2012 9:39 AM

    irishgary says: Apr 12, 2012 9:31 AM

    As much as I dislike Sapp and think he is incredibly stupid. Hios stupidity should not factor into HOF consideration

    Well said Irish … It would be a much smaller hall of fame if they kept guys out for their intellect ( or lack there of ) and decision making. Joe Namath the drunk kissing bandit ring a bell ?

  3. zn0rseman says: Apr 12, 2012 9:44 AM

    If Sapp can get inducted into the Hall of Fame after his brutal cheap shot on Chad Clifton, then Albert Haynesworth still has a chance.

  4. ronniemexico says: Apr 12, 2012 9:46 AM

    Moron… debatable.
    Hall of Famer… no doubt.

  5. delhommed says: Apr 12, 2012 9:48 AM

    Sapp should have to wait a few years! I was a fan of Sapp during his playing days, but then saw him in the airport and attempted to tell him how much I liked watching him play and basically verbally assaulted with tobacco spit for even trying to talk to him. Screw sapp. Hope Shockey sticks it in him!

  6. ezmagic says: Apr 12, 2012 10:01 AM

    It’s called the football hall of fame, not the extra curricular activity hall off fame… He may not be the smartest guy in the world but was a great player. If a few comments keeps any man out the they need to change the name of the football hall of fame…. Isn’t OJ in it?

  7. gotampabay52 says: Apr 12, 2012 10:15 AM

    Hey chad cliffton look around when running down field clean hit let it go if a punter did it it big the biggiest hit laid out by a punter Sapp Is a HOF best DT thanks for the times and the hit on packers chad cliffton yo Sherman put a helmet on

  8. thraiderskin says: Apr 12, 2012 10:22 AM

    Not even close, he’s a hall of famer. I do feel a little bad for this journalist, there he is with his slam dunk HOFer and Sapp refuses to just stay out of controversy. He better have a tape of everyone of Sapps great defensive plays to include ever single QB sack.

  9. laeagle says: Apr 12, 2012 10:22 AM

    He lost me when he compared being an NFL player with slavery. Sorry, it’s not QUITE the same.

  10. panthrobro says: Apr 12, 2012 10:37 AM

    He’s a hall of fame sap. Thats for sure

  11. mattmillen4president says: Apr 12, 2012 10:40 AM

    Sapp should be voted in for the things he contributed to the game on the field, then immediately thrown out for being an embarrassment to himself as an assclown of an analyst.

  12. ahmiller21 says: Apr 12, 2012 10:42 AM

    You’re put in a HOF in any sport based on your skills on the field, not off of it. Bankruptcy, controversial comments, etc shouldn’t even be an issue. He was a great player and deserves the nod. Brett Favre is a first ballot HOFer and I believe what he did off the field was much worse than what Sapp has done. Keep the politics out of sports!

  13. fordmandalay says: Apr 12, 2012 10:44 AM

    Note that when Kaufman ran down the list of problems people might have with Sapp, he never even mentioned the fact that he’s a deadbeat dad, owing hundreds of thousands in unpaid child support.

  14. flaccounibrow says: Apr 12, 2012 10:54 AM

    Just because a player plays for a franchise that is for the most part miserable, does not mean that the player is hall of fame worthy. Sapp was good, not great for 3-4 years of his playing days. He was over rated fat, and slow for the remaining years. He is only mentioned because the bucs have very few HOF players. If he played for the Steelers, cowboys, bears, packers…etc he wouldn’t even be mentioned.

  15. jlinatl says: Apr 12, 2012 10:55 AM

    When I lived in Tampa, heard tons of stories about how abusive he was to fans when approached in public. Not just refusing autographs but just outright nasty in the way he treated them.

  16. peytonwantsaflag says: Apr 12, 2012 11:11 AM

    or how bout this? let’s start concentrating MORE on character.

    I’d much rather take my kids to a hall with fewer athletes of good character than one filled with these arrogant clowns

  17. professorcolumbus says: Apr 12, 2012 11:20 AM

    zn0rseman says: Apr 12, 2012 9:44 AM

    If Sapp can get inducted into the Hall of Fame after his brutal cheap shot on Chad Clifton, then Albert Haynesworth still has a chance.


    How does this have 9 thumbs up? They are both DT’s and a-holes. That is where the comparison ends. Fat Al was never in the same LEAGUE as Sapp.

    Hey, the baseball HOF let Ty Cobb in! Who’s next, John rocker?

  18. dikshuttle says: Apr 12, 2012 11:24 AM

    I don’t know the numbers, but why does he have to be a 1st ballot HOF’er?

    Were his numbers so good he was a shoe in?

    One thing that always gets me is the assumption that it should always be a meritocracy going in. It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Stats. It is a popularity contest by name.

    I don’t have a problem with someone’s character or infamy delaying the process.

    That said – he should be in the HOF. I have no problem waiting a few years, though.

  19. colinsnooks says: Apr 12, 2012 11:25 AM

    They can fix it by getting replacing voters from the media with voters who are former players, coaches, etc. There’s got to be enough HOFers now, they should just let the players and coaches already in the hall of fame vote for new members. They spent their whole careers watching game tape and identifying the best players on the field on opposing teams, they probably have a better idea of who deserves to get in.

  20. Stupid Raiders Fan says: Apr 12, 2012 11:26 AM

    Sapp’s career alone, I don’t think he is a HOF.

    Only 3 years of double digit sacks

    7 pro bowls, but only 5 years of those deserved

    Completely average player in OAK the last 5 years of his career and bad teammate.

    He’s borderline HOFer at best if he gets in it should be after 10plus years.

  21. huejackson says: Apr 12, 2012 11:34 AM

    I can’t believe Hall of fame and Warren Sapp are in the same sentence..
    This guy was very over rated… He was horrible he is the soul reason for the Raiders sucking.. It’s a known fact he would tell players on the Raiders to “stop trying to play hard and just get dat money”
    When team mated would complain that he would not run hard to make a tackle he would say run hard or slow Im still getting mo money”
    Just ask guys that were in that locker room like Roland Williams…
    This guy is a loser if he gets in the Hall of fame but a guy Like Tim Brown does not then I think the hall of fame is a scam…
    Tim Brown is the 2nd best WR of all time and he is not in it!

  22. duanethomas says: Apr 12, 2012 11:51 AM

    L.T. got in…..nuff said.

  23. zampft says: Apr 12, 2012 12:01 PM

    He won’t be a first ballot HoFer as a form of punishment, especially coming right off such a controversial year for Sapp. Then they’ll vote him in the next year.

  24. effosugoblue says: Apr 12, 2012 12:02 PM

    I sat next to Sapp on a flight. He is a jerk!!

  25. slickmarine says: Apr 12, 2012 12:02 PM

    Great debate! I mean, Sapp WAS a monster between the lines, right? Clifton a cheap shot? Probably – nowadays. Nuthin’ but a good hit to Deacon Jones, tho’.

    I don’t care much for him tossin’ Shockey to the wolves. Even if it WAS Shockey, keep it in-house, right? I don’t know is he’s just Curly of the Three Stoogies or a genuine schmuck.

    I’ll tell you this, tho’; if Charles Haley – with all this incomparable achievements – can’t get in because of his “off-the-field” BS, everyone else needs to be blemish-free.

  26. andyreiddoublecheeseburger says: Apr 12, 2012 12:18 PM

    Steve McMichael and Keith Millard belong in the Hall of Fame before this guy- he was always the product of hype.

  27. skippynj says: Apr 12, 2012 12:34 PM

    I can’t believe anyone would even consider Sapp for the HOF. He was overrated in college as well as in the pros, but I guess if you have a big mouth and scream loud enough, some gullible people are bound to listen. And I don’t care what you do or say off the field, I’m only concerned about what happened on the field when it comes to worthiness for the Hall. He was a good player but a HOFer? No way, never.

  28. kathyisintheroom says: Apr 12, 2012 12:37 PM

    My family has a huge plantation. Since Warren is bankrupt I’m sure he can use a helping hand. He can come work the fields for us and receive free room and board.

  29. dempsey63 says: Apr 12, 2012 12:44 PM

    Sapp’s bust shouldn’t be enshrined in Canton until Morganna’s bust is enshrined in Cooperstown.

  30. johntonioholmes says: Apr 12, 2012 1:30 PM

    Warren Sapp had some good seasons. 3 or 4 to be exact.

    If he makes it to the Hall, though, it’ll be proof that you could talk yourself into stardom.

    He was tremendously overrated.

  31. keeponhating says: Apr 12, 2012 2:04 PM

    Sorry warren it isn’t off the field issues that will keep you out of the HOF the mere fact that you ever wore that silver and black jersey is what will keep you out. Just ask Cliff Branch, Kenny Stabler, Tom Flores, Jim Plunkett, or Ray Guy.

  32. madisonave99 says: Apr 12, 2012 2:34 PM

    This shows exactly why media members should NOT be voting on Halls of Fame. It turns into a popularity contest instead of being based on how great a player someone was. Lynch, Sapp and Derrick Brooks all belong in the Hall

  33. beeronthefridge says: Apr 12, 2012 3:24 PM

    Sapp belongs in the hall of SHAME!

  34. bullcharger says: Apr 12, 2012 6:38 PM

    So he has financial problems, might lose his job and might get sued. None of those things are criminal and none should refelct on his football career. Those are things that are unfortunate but can happen to good people. There are plenty of HOF bound players that are worse people.

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