Our mamas always told us, "Don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes." So, when we heard the news of Chad Ochocino being dropped from the Miami Dolphins for an alleged domestic violence dispute with wife Evelyn Lozada we went to someone who has been there, experienced that: Warren Sapp.
No, the former Hurricanes defensive lineman who went on to play for Tampa Bay and Oakland has never been dropped from an NFL team. But he did have a run-in with the law because of domestic battery back in 2010. (The charges were later dropped.) Both Sapp and Johnson are NFL standouts, Dancing With The Stars alums, and never ones to hold back. So we knew Sapp would have something to say.
Sapp will make an appearance tonight at Books & Books in Coral Gables to promote is new book Sapp Attack!, so we took the opportunity to ask his opinion on the whole Ochocinco situation. Oh, and did he ever have an opinion. Speaking on everything from his time on reality TV to hating on Tim Tebow, he let us have it.
Cultist: Are you still living in South Florida these days?
Warren Sapp: Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida, that is.
Are you excited to be coming home? I know you have been on quite the media tour for you new book.
I am excited. It gives people a little time to get into the book. We will have a nice little Q&A and a nice little signing section. Its always a nice time.
Speaking of your book, what can fans expect from Sapp Attack!?
They are going to learn some things about my personal life. How I was raised and a little bit about the make-up of me. I didn't pull off the high power perception by myself, trust me. But know that I definitely didn't sugar coat me. It's a bluntly honest look at the big fella. I mean, I think it's a page-turner.
What is going to surprise fans?
It varies. Dealing with media outlets, you deal with people who do sports, don't do sports, people in the business, people in finance, etc. Then I have fans who loved football and then fans who loved the dancing. Each one of them enjoyed different parts of the book. Everyone takes something else from it. I think that is what makes it unique.
You have dealt with everything from 13 seasons in the NFL to bankruptcy. What was the hardest part to put down on paper?
I'll tell you this: It isn't an autobiography. I didn't want to look into every nook and cranny in my life because there are some stinky pieces I don't want to deal with anymore. That is just the way it is. But saying that, I didn't sugarcoat anything. If it is in the book, that is exactly how it happened. I promise you that.
I know football is a big part of Sapp Attack! From Apoka High School to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is there a team that has a special place in your heart?
I only got four teams I ever played for... I only get to choose one? I am going to have to say the Canes. I bleed orange and green.
What NFL team do you root for?
I am a Cowboys fan. I have been since I was knee high to a jackrabbit. I am Buccaneer and a Raider by trade. When you were growing up around the time I was growing up, you either loved Dallas, the Steelers, or you were an Oakland Raider. Maybe the Dolphins because of their perfect season, but that's only if you lived in Florida, I think.
Speaking of the Dolphins: Why are they so terrible?
Because they are cursed! I swear. They wouldn't take any Hurricane players in the '80s and '90s and now they are cursed. (Laughs) I am kidding. I really don't know. I think they found them a quarterback at least. I like Ryan Tannehill.
If he turns out to be really good, along with how young he is, I think he will get some Tebow-like backlash.
Tebow was young and good? Not at this level. I always tell everyone: what you did in college, leave in college. This is a grown man's game. There are grown men who have been in the game 10-15 years who are trying to keep feeding their family. When you get to this league, it separates the men from the boys.
Do you think the Dolphins are worse off without Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson?
I was rooting for him. When Chad had that first press conference on Hard Knocks, I thought to myself, "This isn't good." The coaches came to him and let him know he can't do this, he represents the organization, etc. I have a sense of humor, but they should have come to him and said, " I saw the press conference. If you do it again, you're gone." He didn't know if this was his first strike, second strike, what it was. They were setting him up. There were so many potholes; he didn't know where to step.
You think they used the Evelyn Lozada fight to kick him off the team?
Come on. Tell me the first and last name of a brother who headbutted someone.
Chad Johnson, I suppose.
No, before that. When is the last time one of your homeboys called you and told you, "Let me tell you about this fight at the club last night where this guy and his girlfriend were walking by and he turned around and headbutted the girl." Never. He's taking the rap for it. We don't do that. She did it. That's a woman that is going to depend on her beauty for the rest of her life to open any door she wants to walk through, and she is going to do what to her forehead? I'm done. [Chad] is a bunch of fun and I am sorry this had to happen to him.
On a more positive subject, I still am in shock you did Dancing With The Stars.
It was the funnest season yet. I think they have gone a little less since then. It's been going down. You're like, "Not that crew!" We had an awesome crew: old lady, fat guy, comedian, beautiful ladies, crazy people, we had everything.
Do you still watch?
Sure. Not lately because the NFL Network has been putting me on the air for Monday Night Football. Sometimes I watch the reruns, but I can't vote at that point.
Your boys had to give you shit when you started.
For about two weeks they did. Then they started watching and they were like, "Boy, we aren't sure if that's the camera, but it looks like you're rolling. The big fella is rolling. I like it!"
You had to be a little surprised you got runner-up.
I was surprised to make it past week six. I was working at that point. I could see the light. You have to be lucky to to win a championship. You have to have a little luck to come close to winning a championship and I was very lucky.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
You were with Kim Kardashian on your season. I'm shocked you two weren't dating by the end of it -- she loves athletes!
I think she was with Reggie (Bush) at that time. One of the guys that dribbles or sticks a ball. She likes a little guy: Reggie, Kanye, and Ray J. She ain't going over 200 pounds. Other than that Humphries man, but that was too much man!
See Warren Sapp tonight at Books & Books at 8 p.m.