(PCM) It’s almost hard to imagine how quickly 42 year old Warren Sapp’s life has turned on him. On February 1st, Super Bowl Sunday his image was projected on the the stadium’s big screen. Less than 24 hours later he is without a job.
Warren Sapp is a retired defensive tackle who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost ten years. Sapp has seven (7) pro bowl appearances, and won a Super Bowl. His affable nature made him great for TV after football retirement. He’s called the NFL Network home since 2008 as an on air analyst.
On February 2nd, the Monday morning after the Super Bowl 49 post game festivities in Phoenix Arizona police booked Sapp on a single count of solicitation for prostitution. It was not a sting operation. While the charge is a misdemeanor, in the wake of recent sexual assault scandals involving men against women, and the NFL’s image at stake – the NFL reacted swiftly in firing Warren Sapp.
It all happened within a window of eight (8) hours. It started at 7:00 AM at a Phoenix Hotel. According to a Phoenix Police Department statement, “Officers working security at a Downtown Phoenix hotel (Renaissance Phoenix Downtown) were investigating a noise disturbance when they were contacted by a female alleging she had been assaulted.”
It’s alleged Sapp and the guests he was involved with escalated an argument over money. A physical altercation took place which spilled into the hallway of the hotel. When police arrived injuries consistent with a struggle validated the women’s claims they were assaulted.
This is in no way a defense of Sapp, but consider that for police to consider marks consistent with a struggle, a victim need only be wrinkled, or have torn clothing. It does not necessarily mean bruises or cuts. However with police indicating ‘injury’ it is more likely the injuries were little more than a wrist burn or mild bruising due to one woman being detained once again later at another hotel for violating the city’s escort laws. At the time of Sapp’s arrest one woman was cited for prostitution and released.
Sapp was arrested. As the morning progressed he was taken to police headquarters and admitted to his involvement in the act of prostitution and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on suspicion of soliciting prostitution. Sapp stated he was not responsible for any assault of the two female guests he was with at the time. Before noon, Sapp was charged with two counts of assault and one count of soliciting a prostitute.
By 12:30 PM on Monday Sapp’s bio was wiped from the NFL Network website. By 1:00 PM the NFL’s initial response stated Sapp is suspended indefinitely. By 2:00 PM Warren Sapp is fired by the NFL Network. At 4:00 PM on Monday he was in court to face arraignment.
Sapp does have a history that would lead one to believe this could happen to him. From his sudden departure from HBO’s Inside the NFL, to domestic battery charges (dropped), Warren Sapp may have reached the end of the line in visual media.
If convicted, Sapp could face a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine, six (6) months jail time and three (3) years probation. A conviction on the prostitution charge has a mandatory 15 days in jail.
While Sapp’s fall from grace is current headlines, the fact is altercations with alleged prostitutes happens often with men in celebrity power. Maybe it’s perceived power or a feeling of self-importance that leads to a violent physical end. Other cases include CBS Sports announcer Greg Anthony arrested recently on January 16th for solicitation of a prostitute.
In 2009, Shamwow infomercial pitchman Vince Offer was arrested in Miami Beach after an altercation with then 26 year old prostitute Sasha Harris. These two truly went at it with many allegations hurled on both sides. The charges were later dropped.
To put all this in perspective, celebrities are routinely caught breaking the law, and Warren Sapp was not the only celebrity at the Super Bowl who was arrested.
One celebrity not arrested in connection with prostitution is former child star of Moesha, Marcus T. Paulk, now age 28. He was arrested after the Super Bowl on DUI charges. In 2013, he too was arrested for physical abuse with a girlfriend.
Celebrities and prostitution is not a new story. Do you remember 1995 when Hugh Grant was caught paying $50 for oral? Many other cases of celebrities caught with prostitutes include the unapologetic Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Eddie Murphy, Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, Lamar Odom,.
Politicians include, Eliot Spitzer, Barney Frank and Silvio Berlusconi.
Other NFL players include Vikings players, Fred Smoot and Bryant McKinnie.
Warren Sapp is the latest celebrity to be caught in a pay-for-sex situation. 2015 is young, if the past is any indicator, more will come.