Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall fired back today at comments made by former NFL defensive tackle, and Super Bowl champion, Warren Sapp. Sapp made the comments while on "The Dan Patrick Show" last Friday, and had this to say about the former Broncos star:
“These kids that play the game today have no relevance for the past. Have no conscious of what it is,” Sapp said. “I mean, Brandon Marshall talking about Shannon Sharpe, who is he to talk? He’s the first 100-catch receiver, back-to-back, retard. What you just did in Denver for three years. You don’t know this? No, of course he doesn’t, because it’s not about Brandon Marshall, it ain’t about (inaudible), it ain't about the past, it’s about me. It’s about personal success, pay me, and now I’ll think about being a team guy.”
Those statements, purely at face value, are detestable and show a level of desperation that is sad and shallow. Comments such as those uttered by Sapp can easily be diffused by the degree of their own ignorance. The Bears’ Marshall took to a unique approach in his reply. In the age of technology, the best way to get the word out is via viral video.
That is exactly what Marshall did in a series of short videos. You can watch them both below, followed by a partial text transcription.
"I got a really disturbing heads-up on something Warren Sapp said, called me retarded,” Marshall says in the video. That's really disappointing to hear that from an NFL legend . . . When I look at Warren Sapp, I can't go to him and talk about finances because he filed for bankruptcy. I can't go to him and talk about my marriage because he filed for divorce. I can't go to him and talk about being a father because one day I'm going to have children, because he's not active in his children's life.
“There's more to life than just playing football, so make sure that you have a great balance in your life, surround yourself with good people, and guys like Warren Sapp I feel sorry for. Hopefully one day he will change his life, we'll pray for him, and instead of using words to destroy he may use words to uplift . . ."
This can be viewed as a passive-aggressive—potentially dangerous (Marshall appears to be driving while making the video)—means of venting, or it can be construed as a wasted opportunity to really turn the head on Sapp's comments and illuminate awareness for mental illness. Marshall did use the comments as an opportunity to address Borderline Personality Disorder and mental health in this tweet:
However, it really wasn't a necessary to call out the Sapp's personal affairs. After all, Sapp did not make any mention of Marshall’s personal issues; many of which just happened recently and are very personal in nature. Nonetheless, Brandon thought it necessary to reply in the manner in which he did and in the context that he so chose.
Marshall has done a remarkable job since announcing he has BPD, and this could be a key opportunity to use Sapp as an example of society's interpretation of retardation and mental illness.
Both parties will have to live with any consequences that may follow their public statements, with both being active representatives of the NFL brand, but it is doubtful that Marshall will see any punishment. Sapp, on the other hand, could be on his way out of an NFL Network gig that has kept him relevant since retirement, unless he performs some miracle damage control pretty quick.
Whether Brandon sees a penalty for the videos or not isn't the issue for me. It is the mere distraction that will inevitably be of caused due to this back-and-forth. The Bears are coming off an ugly home victory against the St. Louis Rams in which the offense was a complete non-factor, and more importantly, Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler appeared to be out of sync.
For Marshall to engage in any retaliation or reply to Warren's insensitive and ignorant comments cannot be beneficial to his production or the Bears organization in any capacity other than focusing the spotlight on mental health awareness and stigmas.
So, for what it's worth, Marshall should stick to the high road.
Or maybe not even travel down it. For the team’s sake . . . and his own.