Warren Sapp Picks Poverty Over Prison

Warren Sapp, likely not to be retained by NFL Network when his contract expires this year, confessed that he chose to file for bankruptcy, mostly to stay out of jail. He also claimed that his entire NFL Network paycheck was garnished, which perhaps led to his no longer voluntarily showing up on their air. "Do you keep working without a check?"

Last Sunday – Easter Sunday – I reported (and apparently was the only such media outlet to report as such) that newly destitute former NFL player Warren Sapp “will not be resurrected on NFL Network” when his contract expires this summer, and his next appearance on the network has yet to be determined.

This Sunday, the one following Easter, is also known as “Sunday of the Divine Mercy.” And on this Sunday, Sapp is practically begging for mercy.

Over the weekend, the defensive tackle who was drafted by, and won a since-misplaced Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers, told all to Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Gary Shelton – or, at the very least, gave a good explanation why he chose to claim Chapter 7: it was the last refuge before becoming a refugee.

“It was either [file for bankruptcy] or go to jail. Those were my choices.” He later made a “promise” that he “will never go to jail.”

Yeah, Warren, sometimes life just isn’t fair. It’s not like you can pull a “get out of jail free” card out of your ass and use it anytime you want, right?

“Do you think I wanted to declare bankruptcy? Do you think if there was any other way possible, I would have done it?”

It was previously reported that Sapp’s NFL Network salary was being garnished by creditors. This might explain why Sapp perhaps lost the will to appear on NFL Network, opting to exile from Culver City to Florida proper. “You tell me what to do. Do you keep working without a check? If you don’t pay your child support, you go to jail.” He contends filing for bankruptcy “wasn’t something I wanted to do. This was something I had to do.”

Let’s start with why Sapp is pleading poverty in the first place: He had a business agreement with two partners for a low-income housing construction project in the Fort Pierce area of West Palm Beach. But as Shelton described it, “one of his partners approved the construction of three houses, so there would be something to market. But 2005 was not a good time for real estate, and the houses went unsold.”

Or, to put it in Monopoly terms, nobody landed on Sapp Place with three houses on the property.

As Sapp recalled, “It didn’t go well… At the end of the day, we owed them a million dollars, and the two numbnuts put their heads in the sand. They went after me.”

Translation: They – identified as Steve Smoke and Devin Bush, whom with Sapp formed “Urban Solutions Group”, all of which are listed as “codebtors” on page 32 of Sapp’s bankruptcy report, and represented by a PNC Bank branch in West Palm Beach by virtue of a judgment in their favor against Urban Solutions Group for close to $1 million in 2010 – proceeded to approve garnishment of his paychecks from NFL Network, where he had been employed upon retiring from the NFL in 2008. Sapp claims “100 percent” of his NFLN salary was garnished for close to a year. This does not include the money he’s received from Showtime and Championship productions, which had issued him a “final contract payment” of $45,000, per page 34 of the bankruptcy report.

Meanwhile, according to page 43 of those bankruptcy documents, the only garnishment listed totals $133,332 – or just three months of payments from his $540,000 annual NFLN salary, seized by PNC Bank. As a subsequent Times article which breaks down “the play-by-play of Warren Sapp’s 59-page bankruptcy filing” explains it, the bank “took $33,333 straight out of his NFL Network paycheck” for four consecutive months starting last December, “and it would have happened again in April had he not filed on March 30.” While Sapp claims this was the case for 11 months, only these four payments were reflected on the bankruptcy report “because it calls for this sort of activity over the last 90 days.”

Yet, something is still amiss here: Sapp claims that “100 percent” of his NFL Network paychecks were being garnished. The bankruptcy report only confirms garnishments of just $33,333 per month – which still gives him over $20,000 a month in, say, Monopoly money.

I admit, I’m not an expert in reading legal documents, but I don’t think Sapp is being truthful when he claims his entire NFL Network salary has been garnished for months.

And speaking of mistruths, he responds to many sources (including this one) being skeptical about his claim that he lost his Super Bowl ring. Sapp tells Shelton that he had worn the ring “for 365 days” since the Bucs won the big game in 2003. The subsequent season – which would be Sapp’s final season in pewter and black – “we had a 7-9 [record]… and I went to Oakland and I took it off.”

Sapp says “365 days.” The actual number of days between the Bucs winning Super Bowl XXXVII – January 26, 2003 (the last Super Bowl to be played in the month of January, mind you) – through the day he signed with the Raiders – March 21, 2004 – is actually 420 days. Which is ironic because, unless it takes eight weeks to make a Super Bowl ring, Sapp must have been high when he came up with that number.

But to the alleged mistruth that he lost his Super Bowl bling: He says he was “at the Super Bowl” – presumably the previous one in Indianapolis – “and I thought I handed it to someone, and he said he didn’t.” He then said searches for the ring in his suit and his luggage came up empty. “What was I going to do? Yell and scream because I lost a ring?” Well… yeah! When you’re identified with the highest honor in the National Football League, and your personal link to that honor is nowhere to be found, you’d best believe you should be hootin’ and hollerin’ to Rich Eisen or whoever it is on the set that your Super Bowl ring is gone. But he apparently took the high road on this one.

“That ring didn’t make me a champion. Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith, that crew made me a champion.”

Okay… So are you going to round them all up and mount them on the wall of your condos – the ones that you’ll be retaining as part of your bankruptcy? And which property would they look better in, the Orlando one (page 50 of the report) or the one in Miami (page 51)?

Oh, and about that lion skin rug: He says he didn’t personally shoot it, but he claims he shot a zebra skin rug that he owns, though.

Anyway, back to the lost Super Bowl ring: “Is it so unbelievable that I misplaced my ring? In my life, has anyone called me a liar?”

Actually, yes – yes they have. Like your fellow University of Miami alumnus, Jeremy Shockey, for starters. He says you fabricated that Bountygate “snitch” thing. And guess what? Apparently, so does the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell! Well, hell, that pretty much trumps the lie that I’m calling you out for on your income in this very post!

Time for an installment of “Quotes That Will Come Back To Haunt You.” This from a Q&A with social media mecca Mashable dated March 8 – roughly two weeks before he claimed, via Twitter, that he “heard” Shockey was “the snitch”. Sapp is asked by Sam Laird, “Do you have any keys to success? Things you try to make a point of doing or avoiding?” Sapp’s reply: “I try to be consistent more than anything. When this bounty thing came up, you can’t duck that. I had to defend 13 years of playing the game… All the things you can call me, being a liar isn’t one of them. I’m big and bold, but not dishonest.”

First, Mashable should update their piece to reflect that his current Twitter handle is no longer “@QBKilla”. Then, what they should really do is a follow-up with Sapp. so he would have a chance to “make a point of avoiding,” I don’t know, bad low-cost housing construction deals? Purchasing twenty dozen pairs of Jordan shoes? Being tied up with five different “baby mamas”?

And here’s proof that Sapp was absolutely not mindful of his assets whatsoever. He addressed the aforementioned 240-some-odd pairs of shoes in his tet-a-tet with the Tampa Bay Times: “I didn’t know I had that many… I’ve said for years, if you wear size 15, I have some shoes to donate. I’ve been with Team Nike for a long time. I didn’t pay for most of those.”

Don’t cry for me, Imelda Marcos Carlos Sapp.

Or, if you prefer, Jamiko Sapp, Chantel Adkins, Akilah Akins, Angela Sanders, and Sarah Matt Lamothe-Kindred. These are the five women that Sapp owes upwards of $75,000 to on a monthly basis.

So, with the perils of his own Freddie Mac situation, and owing alimony and child support to five different Fannie Maes, Sapp had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. An appraisal of his “household goods and furnishings” (pages 13-19 of the report) list everything from an iron and a “small waste basket,” each with a value of $3.00, to a De Grisogono watch worth $2,250.00, scratches and all. I, for one, am curious as to the contents of Item No. 59 on the list of 101 appraised items: “Unopened Boxes,” quantity of 3. “Contents unknown.” Value: “N/A.” Maybe that’s where Sapp’s Super Bowl ring ended up?

Also, check out some of the contents on the “Personal Property” filing on pages 9-12 of the report. Sapp owns 75,000 shares of something called “Viddy, Inc.” Many outlets dub the Viddy smartphone app as “Instagram for videos.” Last week, Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion. Perhaps that can be a possible silver lining for Sapp’s financial situation? Even if Sapp has to pick from his “lot [of] golf shoes, slippers, dress shoes (appear previously worn)”, valued at $25.00 according to the appraisal report, and personally show up at the doorstep of Mark Zuckerberg, with Fozzie The Bear in tow?

Also listed amongst his “Personal Property” claimed on his bankruptcy report: “Book Royalties and Advances from WCS Memoir.” That would be “Sapp Attack,” which is already available on Amazon.com with a release date of August 21, 2012 – coinciding with the end of his current contract with NFL Network on August 31. It’s no secret that controversy or just being viral can help your Amazon.com sales rank. When an aide for Republican Presidential candidate (and likely nominee) Mitt Romney likened his “fall campaign” to an Etch-A-Sketch, sales of the half-century-old doodling tool skyrocketed, moving its rank among all toy sales on the website, from No. 1,507 to No. 91 with an aluminum-powdered bullet. And can you imagine if CNN’s Hilary Rosen had penned a book before recently jibing Mrs. Romney for “not working a day in her life,” despite Mitt’s wife raising five children? With Sapp almost certain not to have his contract renewed by NFL Network, and perhaps Showtime, and if he is not able to be hired by another sports network such as ESPN, or perhaps the new sports network that FOX hopes to have on the air by year’s end, you’d have to wonder if his game plan is to drop another dime or two on Bountygate this summer – just in time for sales of “Sapp Attack” to start being recorded. Especially if the comments are of a controversial nature, because as you know, controversy moves the needle.

And has anyone else noticed the amount listed under “Personal Property” for the amount of “cash on hand”? Just $100.00… or at least that’s how much he had with him when he filed for bankruptcy on March 30.

I invite you to read the entire bankruptcy report for yourself. The final four pages list all of the parties involved, like the closing credits of a movie.

But it shouldn’t have come to this. He should not have been involved with an ill-fated housing development deal, and mismanaged his funds, including an estimated “$60 million” during his thirteen-year career in the NFL. And perhaps he shouldn’t have spread the Sapp seed so spryly.

“I put myself in this position,” admitted Sapp, who will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year, upon reaching a five-year period of retirement from the league – and with his reputation having to bear the phrase “just heard who the snitch was” like Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter”, even induction into Canton is an uncertainty.

But legal experts think his chances of overcoming his bankruptcy burden are certain. “He’ll walk out of this very strong,” commented one attorney to the Tampa Bay Times, while another predicted “he comes out smelling like a rose [despite] really high support payments.” And a third lawyer summoned by the Times to analyze Sapp’s bankruptcy report had this to say about the man who currently weighs in at an estimated 331 pounds: “He’s not going to miss any meals.”

One thing’s for sure: he sure will miss eating those meals on that $750.00 wood dining room table, complete with six leather chairs.

“This is just another situation I have to get myself out of… I grew up without cable… Things aren’t that bad yet.”

Though, if he doesn’t have a new revenue stream with another cable network set up by 2013, how will he get by?

“If there is air in my lungs, I’ll find a way.”

235 pairs of Jordan shoes: $6470.00.

Three school athletics rings that didn’t get lost: $6,600.00.

Total alimony and child support due to his ex-wife: $876,000.00.

Total amount of liabilities owed to creditors: $6,724,631.62.

Warren Sapp’s faith through these dire times: priceless.

One comment on “Warren Sapp Picks Poverty Over Prison

  1. Gary Shelton says:

    Thanks for mentioning the column.

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