Warren Sapp Explodes His Career

Warren SappWhy would a man go out of his way to take a career, a career he loves and enjoys, and blow it up? At the same time, why would a man take his reputation, his self-respect and his Hall of Fame credentials and destroy it on the biggest stage in professional sports?

Warren Sapp is currently an unemployed, Hall of Fame, Tampa Bay Ring of Honor Defensive Tackle. He was in Phoenix for the Super Bowl as part of his duties with the NFL Network as an analyst and commentator.

His duties did not include solicitation of two prostitutes and assaulting them. He was arrested and promptly fired. After Russell Wilson’s pass into coverage on the 1 yard line, Sapp’s arrest is possibly the second dumbest move of the weekend.

The NFL Network, to its credit, does not want its on air people to get busted for assault and solicitation any more than your boss would want you to do something equally as stupid while you were away at a trade show. Do not let his status as an incredible ex-athlete cloud your vision.

The question of why

We can have all of the debates about victimless crimes as you would like. This question has nothing to do with that issue. Yes, I am aware, that just before the solicitation Sapp said good-bye to his girlfriend as she was leaving for the airport. It looks as though his relationship is about to bust up as well but that too, is another issue.

Throughout his career, Warren Sapp was known as a tough, aggressive, in-your-face kind of player. It served him. He did well financially as well as athletically. Tough, mean and physical play are valued on the field. Off the field, not so much. Off the field, in the civil world, being physical does not translate to smacking around women and breaking the law. Whether prostitutes, under-cover cops, or someone he met at a church social, off-the-field behavior is governed by laws.

It all comes down to choices.

Sports Ethics does not care if Warren Sapp is a HOF stand-out or just “another guy” scrambling to stay on the practice squad. There aren’t extra points for being a somebody. However, not all athletes feel that way. Some athletes have never been taught about making good choices and that bad choices will also lead to negative consequences.

That’s why we have Sports Ethics programs.

I get it. You have a professional athlete who has had adulation and money thrown at him (or her) and it is a high of incredible high’s. They can do nothing wrong and they feel entitled. Fans “fall at their feet” no matter what they do, but it can all go away. It goes away in an instant.

As a person off-the-field, working for an incredibly powerful sports outlet, Warren Sapp had many choices. He chose the path of personal, self-centered entitlement. He chose the path of doing something just because he wanted, and because in his mind there would be no consequences.

As fans, we can put any spin on the situation that we would like. The truth of the matter was that he was on a business trip for a company. He was expected to behave in accordance to how any employee is expected to behave. He was fired for failing to exercise proper judgment and for illegal activities. It happens all of the time, in thousands of situations on a weekly basis. Warren Sapp is no different.

There is no spin here, but there does remain Sports Ethics, good choices and ethical behavior. We call what happens in Sports Ethics training, Ethical Muscle Memory™ and it has saved careers. It could have saved his.

Now he must hope and pray for a second chance. We can help.


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