Warren Sapp reacting negatively to Timmy Jernigan‘s attempt to pay tribute to him tells us all we need to know about his character.
Warren Sapp is one of the best players in Bucs’ history. His 96.5 sacks and seven straight Pro Bowl appearances will not be forgotten. We named him the best Buc to ever wear 99 with good reason. His career in Tampa was, and will forever remain, legendary. His bust in the Hall of Fame is well-deserved.
His character? Not so much. He remains far away from the Hall of Fame as a man.
Oh, we had already been introduced to Sapp’s character prior to recently. His arrest in 2015 for allegedly soliciting a prostitute and assaulting two women, as reported by ESPN, and his subsequent firing by the NFL Network gave us a glimpse. This wasn’t even the first time, as he was arrested in 2010 for domestic violence, although the case was dropped.
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The most recent incident, however, wasn’t criminal. It did, however, show us once again, the true colors of one Mr. Warren Sapp.
Timmy Jernigan of the Baltimore Ravens grew up with Sapp as his role model. With that, he was planning to change his uniform number from 97 to 99, in tribute to someone he idolized and considered a friend, as evidenced by this tweet from the Ravens:
What an honor right? Well, Sapp didn’t see it that way. Here was his brilliant response:
Stop this? Why? For whatever reason, Jernigan considers Sapp important to him. He wanted to honor him for what he meant to his life and his career, and Warren decides that is not acceptable to him.
Big man, Warren.
To his credit, Jernigan decided not to stoop to his level, as ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reported:
"“I’m going to be the bigger person,” Jernigan said. “He says what he wants to. He can feel what he wants to. At the end of the day, it’s all good. All I’m worried about is winning football games here in Baltimore.”"
Good work Timmy. Just because one of your heroes has no class, doesn’t mean you have to be the same way.
Sapp talked to the Pewter Report about why a tribute was so offensive to him. Frankly, the explanation makes him look worse.
"“It was just more peculiar. I was introduced to him while he was at Florida State by a mutual friend of both of ours,” Sapp said. “I don’t want to call that person out, but he is a great friend of mine. So I reached out to the kid (Jernigan) and said, ‘Well here is my (phone) number,’ and then he calls me and reciprocates (exchanging numbers). I told him before he left for the draft, ‘Whatever you need, if you want to work out, do a little bag drills whatever you want, just let me know when you come to South Florida or I’ll come to Tampa or wherever you want to meet me at.’"
He went on to talk about how after Jernigan fell in the draft due to similar circumstances to his, Sapp reached out to him, to his credit, to help motivate him to feel better about himself.
But after that, they didn’t speak again. And that is what annoyed Sapp with Jernigan planning to wear his number:
"“That was the last conversation I had with the young man (in 2014). So for someone to say, ‘Hey, I want to pay tribute to someone, and I have their phone number,’ I would think you might want to try and call that person and say, ‘Hey dawg, I was thinking something…’ You know what I am saying?” “It had nothing to do with Florida State, it was just this kid personally had my phone number,” Sapp said. “He’s had my number before he even got to Baltimore [and never called].”"
So, let me get this straight. Jernigan never called him, so that means he can’t wear his number, for a team that Sapp never even played for? I didn’t realize Warren was still in grade school. “Waaa! He didn’t call me! I thought he was my friend!” Is that what we are reduced to? It’s a JERSEY NUMBER!! Anyone can wear number 99 any time they want to.
Well, not according to Sapp, a classless individual who shows his true colors when someone is going to take the story away from him.
Timmy Jernigan, you did nothing wrong. Warren Sapp is a baby, and a selfish one. The only thing you did wrong was choosing him as someone to look up to.