The New England Patriots are cheaters and have been since the year 2000, says Warren Sapp, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle who used to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sapp made the controversial statement at the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Sanctuary Resort in the Dominican Republic on Friday.
“They cheat,” Sapp said in an interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
When asked how he was so certain that the New England Patriots cheat, Sapp recalled a story from 2000 when the Patriots faced off against his team, the Buccaneers.
“When Tony Dungy took us, the 2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers up there for Week 1, we dumped all our playbooks in Tampa,” Sapp said.
“We had a bin outside the bus. [Dungy] said throw all your playbooks in here. So all our offensive players threw their playbooks in there. The reason I remember this is, is it was Keyshawn Johnson’s first game in Tampa. He was running around the hotel that whole Saturday night going, ‘How the hell am I going to remember the plays?’ Like, really? We’ve been working on them since the summer, you don’t remember them yet? That is when I realized he wasn’t an astute of a player. We went out and got off to a 14-0 lead and [they] came rumbling back after the second half. How many people come to Foxboro and have a 14-point lead? It’s usually the other way around, right? That’s how y’all cheat.”
This definitely isn’t the first time that the New England Patriots have been accused of cheating. The ongoing Deflategate saga is a prime example of this. Deflategate started soon after the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. Reporter Bob Kravitz broke a story that the NFL was investigating the New England Patriots for using deflated balls during the AFC Championship game. Tom Brady, the Patriots’ quarterback, was implicated in the scandal, resulting in a four-game suspension that was eventually overturned.
But according to Warren Sapp, the Patriots’ cheating goes way beyond Deflategate. He insists that the team continues to cheat and used the recent Week 1 game against the Steelers as an example. During the game, the Steelers’ headsets went out on the sidelines.
“The latest example would be [Thursday] night when Mike Tomlin was sitting there listening to y’all’s radio broadcast in his headphones,” Sapp said.
“How do you explain that? And then they tell people it was raining and it wasn’t raining at that point, you know that right? At the beginning of the game it wasn’t raining and that was the narrative that came out the next morning. I remember Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth because I’ve worked with Cris. I remember his face going, ‘Well, how do you explain this?’ Tomorrow morning we’ll put a spin on it. We will tell you it was raining, the communication and something went wrong.”
The NFL cleared the Patriots of all charges of rule infringement in their game against the Steelers.
Sapp also went on to say that he isn’t really against anything that the New England Patriots are doing.
“Listen, man, I don’t have any problem with [Bill] Belichick and anything they are doing up there,” Sapp added. “They are winning. I believe in cheating. If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying to win.”
That said, the New England Patriots currently have bigger problems than cheating accusations from Warren Sapp.
According to ESPN, the Patriots have benched tight end Rob Gronkowski ahead of their upcoming game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gronkowski injured his right knee during the Patriots’ last game against the Denver Broncos which the Patriots lost. A joint statement from the Patriots and Rob Gronkowski says that the tight end “will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis and listed accordingly on the practice participation and injury reports.”
As for who could step in for the injured Gronkowski, the New England Patriots roster has veteran Scott Chandler and second-year players Michael Williams and Asante Cleveland at tight end. However, Chandler was included in the injury report Friday, and Williams was missing in action during last Sunday’s game with a knee injury.
[Photo of Warren Sapp by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images – The New England Patriots by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]