Warren Sapp has a strong stance on all bullying that does not include Warren Sapp.
The former defensive tackle was in the mix of voices commenting on the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin bullying situation on Wednesday. He said Incognito called him a racial slur during a game in an attempt to provoke him. He also said Martin was correct in not confronting Incognito physically after Incognito bullied him, an approach several NFL players have suggested since Martin left the Dolphins and Incognito was suspended as the NFL investigates the situation.
But Sapp — who wasn’t known as the nicest guy during his Hall of Fame career — can’t use his past as an example if that’s his current position.
Former Buccaneers teammate Keyshawn Johnson said on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Wednesday that Sapp was a locker room bully, specifically in regards to defensive tackle Chidi Ahanotu, who eventually fought back.
“Chidi Ahanotu played with me in Tampa Bay, and I used to watch Warren Sapp do some similar things to Chidi Ahanotu,” Johnson said of Sapp’s comments, as transcribed by Pro Football Talk. “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 was also on 95.7 in a separate appearance, and he confirmed Johnson’s account — although he emphasized that he did not feel he was bullied, because he fought back from the get-go.
“Sapp likes to target certain people,” he said. “And he was really bullying everybody in that facility, actually. That’s what he turned into.”
Ahanotu said he lashed out after Sapp “said the wrong thing” and commented about his father.
“I grabbed my helmet, and I was about to beat his head in,” he said.
It may be much harder than first suggested to let cooler heads prevail.