Innocent Until Proven Guilty: Warren Sapp Vindicated

David CotignolaContributor IIMarch 25, 2010

BURBANK, CA - MARCH 01:  Former NFL player Warren Sapp appears onstage at the Comedy Central roast of Larry The Cable Guy at Warner Bros. Studios on March 1, 2009 in Burbank, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It could be a case of too little too late.  

The charges against Warren Sapp were dropped yesterday after being proven to have no merit.  Unfortunately for Warren and athletes everywhere, the damage was already done. 

On February 6th, Warren was charged with domestic battery after a woman told police that Warren had struck her, choked her, and pushed her down.  

She stated that she had been in Warren's hotel room and sleeping when Warren woke her up and asked her to leave and they began arguing.  Warren acknowledged that he had allowed the woman to stay in the hotel room, and then she fell when he asked her to leave.  

The NFL network wasted no time in banishing Warren from his role as Super Bowl coverage analyst until further review.  

Apparently, the NFL hasn't heard of innocent until proven guilty.  

In the meantime, both Warren and the fans of the NFL lost out on a golden opportunity.  

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Warren is a vociferous, charismatic individual.  

He doesn't talk down to the fans when he is on the air, and really comes off as a guy who just got done playing yesterday.  Compared to many of the dry, stodgy, "better than the fan" analysts out there, having Warren at the Super Bowl would have been a treat.  

Now, several weeks later, the charges were dropped.  

Almost all of the accuser's statements were able to be disproved via surveillance camera footage and repeated interviews.  

Warren Sapp is a free, innocent man...but has the damage already been done?

The NFL Network, by immediately removing Sapp from the air, only added to the unfortunate publicity and seemed to help the public assume that Sapp was already guilty.  To get labeled a woman-abuser can destroy a career.  Ask the "what's-his-name" who assaulted Rihanna.

Now the NFL Network will have to sit down and decide what to do with Warren Sapp.

Anything short of his immediate reinstatement will only add to the insult and injury they have already done to him.  Both Warren Sapp and the NFL Network need to make sure that word of his innocence gets out, before an unjust black mark forever scars the career of one of the better new analysts on the air. 

Warren Sapp was one of the best defensive players to play the game, certainly among the top tier at his position.  

He had his share of on-the-field "brushes with the law", but all of them together can't compare to what one malicious individual's lies may do to his new career—one that was once seemed limitless.

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