On Wednesday morning, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp did something unexpected, given his reputation. The man known as a bully (at times) both on the field and off it told Dan Patrick that Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin did the right thing by not confronting teammate Richie Incognito, and instead by essentially “telling on” the man who allegedly had been bullying Martin.
As some of you pointed out after we praised Sapp on Twitter for not adopting the all-too-common belief that Martin should have physically confronted Incognito, there’s a chance that Sapp had been warned by his current employer — the NFL — to not say anything to suggest that Martin should have resorted to violence.
Regardless, Sapp apparently is no stranger to the issue of bullying. Former Tampa teammate Keyshawn Johnson told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco that Sapp bullied Bucs defensive tackle Chidi Ahanotu, and that it continued until Ahanotu (wait for it) physically confronted Sapp.
“Chidi Ahanotu played with me in Tampa Bay, and I used to watch Warren Sapp do some similar things to Chidi Ahanotu,” Johnson said. “Now I’m saying this on the record, and it’s going to go all over the country after I say this. I used to watch him try to bully Chidi Ahanotu, OK? Because he felt he was more superior than Chidi. So one day, you know what Ahanotu did? He got up and he told him, ‘Get your you-know-what in the middle of the floor right now. I’m tired of it.’
“And at that point guess what Sapp did? He sat down. And then everybody else in the locker room, me, the Derrick Brookses, the Brian Kellys, we all said, ‘Good for you, man.’ [Sapp] didn’t want no part of it. Until you stand up for yourself and don’t allow these chumps to do that sort of stuff to you, they’ll keep doing it. That’s the way bullies are.”
Ahanotu confirmed Keyshawn’s account in a separate appearance on 95.7 The Game, even though Ahanotu said he wasn’t bullied by Sapp because Ahanotu regularly fought back.
“Sapp likes to target certain people,” Ahanotu said. “And he was really bullying everybody in that facility, actually. That’s what he turned into. . . . I think fame and money kind of changes people, and he’s a prime example of that. . . . Six years of dealing with that, and finally he said the wrong thing . . . talking about my dad, and that’s when I said, ‘OK, that’s it, man.’ I grabbed my helmet and I was about to beat his head in.”
For more from Sapp on the issue of the day, including his contention that Incognito once dropped the “N” word on Sapp during a game, here’s a clip of his appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.