Chidi Ahanotu Says Bucs Locker Room Was Divided Because of Warren Sapp
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After former Buccaneers Booger McFarland and Steve White both called Chidi Ahanotu a liar for calling Warren Sapp a bully while they were all playing together for the Buccaneers in the late 1990’s, Ahanotu had enough and decided to call into the Booger and Rich Show on 98.7 The Fan.
“That locker room was divided,” Ahanotu said to Booger McFarland on 98.7 The Fan. “You talk to people like Marcus Jones, you talk to people like Dexter Jackson, you talk to people like Keyshawn Johnson, I mean that locker room was divided. I don’t know if you saw that because I only played with you (Booger) for two years.”
“You were the only person who came out and said what you had to say,” Booger responded. “That’s the reason the story got told.”
Ahanotu’s claims of a divided locker room is something no Bucs fan wants to hear in regards to some of the best years in the organization’s existence. Those years are sacred to Bucs fans as some of the few in history where the Bucs could call themselves a true contender.
Booger McFarland then brought up an off-season where Chidi Ahanotu was not at the facility, which frustrated the other defensive linemen on the team.
“After we lost to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game, man, Boog, you don’t understand, and I never felt like this in my life, everything I loved, all my spirit was put into that game, “Ahanotu responded when asked about missing the entire off-season after the Bucs lost to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game in 2000. “I locked myself up for 6 days in a hotel room down in Miami. I had never felt like that before. I had no energy. I had nothing because all my hopes and dreams for this town, for that team, for us as teammates, was to get to the Super Bowl.”
“After that game, I was a mess,” Ahanotu continued. “I took that time to take care of myself and reevaluate things and get myself back together again. Another thing I had at that time, personally, was two little babies and me and the mother were going toe-to-toe, and I was taking care of two little babies by myself. There were other things going on with me, Boog, that you guys had no idea what it was.”
Booger McFarland addressed these issues by simply stating to Ahanotu that the players did not know because he did not tell them nor did he show up for workouts.
Booger then asked Ahanotu if he thought Warren Sapp was a bully.
“I don’t know why this is such a hot button,” Ahanotu said when asked by Booger McFarland if he thought Warren Sapp was a bully. “That’s how I always looked at Sapp, as if he was a bully.”
“A lot of those jabs Sapp would do, he’s insulting people, nothing’s out-of-bounds, and everyone was he he he, but a lot of people were holding resentment because he (Sapp) was insulting them about their mom, about their babies, I mean nothing was off-limits,” Ahanotu said. “If you get all of us from that era together, you’d probably have to have a counseling session.”
With the recent developments of Johnathan Martin in Miami, and Ahanotu’s comments about counseling, one does wonder if these types of incidents have long-term effects on these NFL player’s mentally.
“A whole lot of people from the old Buccaneer teams would have ended up like Jonathon Martin because a lot of people were holding it in,” Ahaotu continued. “What are you gonna say? What are you gonna say to the face of the franchise? Are you gonna confront him in the middle of the locker room like I did? Now what? Everybody turns on you because he’s the face of the franchise.”
While Ahanotu might have confronted Sapp in the locker room 14 years ago, he still holds a grudge large enough to revisit this issue just days before Warren Sapp is inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.