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Sapp Calls NFL a "Slave System"

Comments Reveal a Double-Standard


Updated October 14, 2003
Is there a double standard in the world of sports when it comes to racially-motivated statements made in the media?

Rush Limbaugh was recently forced into giving up his position on ESPN’s “NFL Sunday Countdown” for simply accusing the media of being racist for over-promoting quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is black. Yet, when Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp referred to the league’s office as “slave master”, hardly an eye batted at the racist overtones of his words.

Unhappy that the NFL powers had warned him against skipping through the Indianapolis Colts' pregame warm-ups, Sapp blasted the NFL and Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington in an interview Sunday on CBS' "The NFL Today."

"He got what he wanted," Sapp said of Arrington, "He snitched and slave master come down. That's all that is. ... Stop a man from doing something that he's been doing for nine years? And so now there's a rule against me. Thanks. I knew (the league) was gonna do what they did because they've been notoriously against Sapp. Like I said before, it's a slave system. Make no mistake about it, slave master say you can't do it, don't do it. They'll make an example out of you."

Personally, I found Limbaugh’s comments to be insensitive and ignorant, but Sapp’s tirade is nothing short of asinine and insulting.

Not only were Sapp’s words way off base, but they were a slap in the face to his own race. How can a man that has been made a multi-millionaire by playing a game call the institution that made him rich a “slave system” and compare what he is going through with the circumstances a real slave lived under? And better yet… how does he get away with making such a racially-charged statement when others are losing their jobs for much less?

Can you imagine the uproar if NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue were to refer to a black football player as “boy”? Or how about if he just came right out and used the “N” word? You can bet Tagliabue would be run out of town quicker than Rush Limbaugh could say Oxycontin. But when Sapp calls Tags a slave master, it’s just a case of Warren being Warren? I don’t buy it!

Am I the only one that sees a double standard here?

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