While he has yet to spit water onto Regis and/or Kathie Lee, Warren Sapp’s book tour has hit a few road bumps.
His one-hour, no-break visit with Howard Stern created plenty of intriguing (and profane) moments. And one clear inconsistency.
Sapp bemoaned early in the process that a reporter hid behind an unnamed source on the eve of 1995 draft, with news of multiple failed marijuana tests (and one failed cocaine test, which Sapp strongly denies) that caused Sapp to slide to No. 12. But in the same interview (and during Monday’s spot with Mike Francesa), Sapp continued to assert that he stands by, you guessed it, an unnamed source regarding the notion that Shockey gave information to the NFL about the Saints’ bounty system.
On Tuesday, he had a much shorter — and far more contentious — interview with Nick Wright and John Lopez of SportsRadio 610 in Houston. The problem is that Sapp, when irritated, tends to split hairs on irrelevant details, allowing him to simultaneously be defensive and go on the attack.
For example, Sapp insists he didn’t sell his collection of Air Jordans as part of his bankruptcy case. He takes that position because, technically, assets are sold by the bankruptcy court. Either way, the assets are sold. (Sapp omitted that footnote from his comments about selling his shoes during Howard Stern’s show, creating the impression for anyone who heard it that the report of a massive size 15 shoe sale were flat wrong.)
Sapp’s habit of mincing words ultimately got under the skin of Nick Wright. “Tell your publicity people to send out better press releases,” Wright eventually said. “Because I’m reading this. It’s a no-holds barred memoir. So I’m trying to ask you questions about it. But I heard you on Howard Stern, I heard you on Mike Francesa. You did the same thing. You’re doing a press tour and then you get pissed when people ask about the questions of the day. That’s fine, and I understand it. You’re one of my all-time favorite players. I don’t know if this is the best approach. But I appreciate you joining us. Good luck with the book.”
Sapp then tried to salvage the situation, again by splitting hairs. “I’m trying to figure out what your question was,” Sapp said. “Then you tell me we’re having a general discussion, so a question ain’t a general discussion.”
By that point, the questions and the discussion were done.
Sapp can be very funny and engaging. I’ve had good exchanges with him, and I’ve had bad exchanges with him. He needs to get the bad exchanges under control before the first Saturday in February, because even though he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, if enough of the voters who have had bad exchanges with him over the past two decades can’t set that aside when separating the very good from the immortal, Sapp will be waiting a year to get in. At least.
UPDATE 9:30 p.m. ET: Sapp had another contentious interview on Tuesday, with Scott Sloan of WLW. It started fine but went off the rails when the two were discussing one of the factors for Sapp’s decision not to sign with the Bengals in 2004.
UPDATE 9:42 a.m. ET August 22: Sapp had yet another contentious interview on Tuesday, with The Drew & Mike Show on 101 WRIF in Detroit. This one also was going well until Sapp was asked about his financial issues. And it became bogged down over the question of whether Sapp at one point was paying $75,000 per month in child support. (We suppose there’s a chance he aggressively disputed that fact because the actual number was something like $74,995.14 or $75,102.21.)