Law Blog

SB 289's Zero Tolerance is the Wrong Prescription for California

By Michael C. McDonald, J.D. and Lonnie L. McDowell, Esq. - McDowell & Associates, Attorneys


A former Miami Hurricanes Bad Boy and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Famer (and Dancing With the Stars alum) known for eating quarterbacks for breakfast now finds himself in trouble with the law…again. As reported by TMZ, current NFL Network commentator Warren Sapp was arrested Monday morning at a Downtown Phoenix hotel on charges of solicitation and assault. Sapp was in Phoenix covering the Super Bowl for the NFL Network.

Reports indicate that Sapp brought two women working as “escorts” up to his hotel room where an argument ensued over money. The women say the argument turned physical, spilling out into the hallway. The women reportedly had injuries consistent with a struggle.

TMZ’s report indicates that Sapp admitted to soliciting the women for prostitution, but he denied any assault of the women.

It seems that Sapp is already facing consequences for his acts in the desert. As reported by SI.com, Warren Sapp’s contract with the NFL network was terminated Monday following his arrest. With all the bad press the NFL has received this season regarding domestic violence, it is no surprise the league, who owns the network, clearly has little tolerance for criminal acts, even if only alleged. It is especially no surprise the league would have little tolerance for criminal acts involving alleged violence against women.

Once Sapp was arrested, the writing was pretty much on the wall as far as his career with the NFL Network went, which is too bad considering how entertaining he is (was) as a TV analyst. Warren, however, did himself no favors legally when he admitted to solicitation.

As indicated above, this is not Sapp’s first run-in with the law. As reported by TMZ, Sapp was arrested in 2010 for domestic battery, and again in 2014 for another alleged domestic battery. The 2010 charges were eventually dropped. Additionally, reports say that while at the University of Miami, Sapp failed seven drug tests—six for marijuana and one for cocaine.

Although Sapp is arguably the greatest defensive tackle in NFL history, he doesn’t seem to be the smartest. With all his experience with the law and other bodies of authority, you would think he would know to keep his mouth shut; you would think he would know to USE HIS RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. However, Sapp apparently had not learned this rule of thumb. He admitted to soliciting prostitutes, destroying the possible defense strategy that Sapp had no knowledge the women were prostitutes. Furthermore, this admission also hurts his claim that he did not commit an assault. The admission makes it more likely and more believable that there was in fact an argument over payment that turned physical.

Upon being arrested, Sapp was destined to have an uphill legal battle. By not invoking the most powerful right a person accused of a crime has, the Right to Remain Silent, Sapp has built a 50 foot wall on the hill he must climb, and he probably doesn’t have the right tools to get over it.