Sports Law Blog
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Friday, November 24, 2006
The Forbidden Fruit (or Cheeseburger): Deliberate Food Posioning of NFL Players?
Oakland Raiders' defensive tackle Warren Sapp probably eats a lot of food and probably eats it often. After-all, he weighs at least 300 pounds, and a good portion of his game is based on his ability to use his girth to flatten running backs.
But while on road trips, Sapp won't eat at restaurants. And that's because he believes that his meals were purposefully poisoned on at least three occasions from 1995 to 2003, during which time he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He claims that deliberate food poisoning was especially a problem when traveling to Philadelphia, so much so that he "even went so far as to book two hotel rooms -- one under an alias -- so he could order room service and not worry about his food." Sapp doesn't charge that the visiting teams had anything to do with the poisoning, only their diehard fans who happen to serve food.
Could Sapp be right? Keep in mind that Sapp may not have become sick on those occasions due to food poisoning; he might have instead caught a bug, which he attributed to something more sinister and purposeful, if less likely, such as a crazy Eagles fan--which actually is likely--poisoning his food (much less likely). It is sort of self-affirming to think that a fan is so afraid of what you could do to his favorite team on game day that the fan would actually try to stop you from playing. That's not to say that Sapp didn't suffer from food poisoning, but I could see why he might want to believe that his symptoms resulted from food poisoning rather than a cold or flu.
Also, Sapp says that he was poisoned on three occasions over an eight-year stretch. If he's correct, that does seem unusually often, unless, perhaps, he frequented Jack in the Box a bit too regularly. But even then, the food poisoning wouldn't have been intentional, only the result of gross negligence on the part of one of our nation's beloved fast food companies.
Hold the Spit, Please: Food and Beverage Security at Sporting Events
Hold the Blood, Please: More Concerns for Food Security