Two weeks ago, the Seattle Seahawks matched up against newly-found bitter rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. Heading into the game, the Seahawks were favourites, mostly due to their regular-season record, their lockdown defense and the deafening home support of their ’12th man’ in CenturyLink field. In a nail-biter the Seahawks ran out victors, largely due to a game-sealing tip by Richard Sherman, that lead to an interception, on a pass headed for the outstretched hands of niners receiver Michael Crabtree.
Right after the game, Erin Andrews asked Sherman for an interview on the field. “I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree that’s the result you gon’ get!” Those were the words Sherman abruptly screamed out as the Hawks’ fans roared on. Let the Richard Sherman show begin. There was uproar on social media after the interview, with people describing Sherman as a thug and a bad role model. But I have a question for all those so-called sports experts that sit behind their phones and computers with nothing but negative ‘opinions’ and ‘thoughts’ to spread on their twitters and facebooks? What would you say after a game-winning play that led your team to the Superbowl in the most spectacular of fashions, on your homeground against a player that publicly and privately has had words with you on a regular basis (Crabtree started an argument with Sherman during a charity event over the summer.)? I think what we seen from Sherman was an act of passion and ecstasy. People are right to say that a lot of the time Sherman draws a lot of attention with his mouth rather than his game, but I’m saying it like he did on the sideline of CenturyLink field, he’s the best corner in the game.
When you compare Sherman’s rant with the actions of lets say,Richie Incognito,and the media attention they both received I think that this rant was completely and utterly blown out of proportion, just to make Sherman look bad because the media don’t like his image. What people don’t see is that Sherman is a highly intelligent HUMAN BEING. What sort of a thug goes to Stanford? What sort of a thug writes for the MMQB.com? What sort of a thug attends numerous charity events? Just because a guy says something, he probably shouldn’t have said, in the heat of the moment, doesn’t make him a thug. Shooting people makes you a thug. Dealing drugs to kids makes you a thug. Just because a guy has motor mouth and dreadlocks and grew up in Compton doesn’t make him a thug.Richie Incognito forced a fellow teammate to retire because of bullying that Incognito deemed ‘rookie hazing’, and the issue still hasn’t been resolved, yet it garners almost zero media attention. I’ve read more about how Jonathin Martin, Incognito’s ‘teammate’ should’ve been more of a ‘man’ and stayed on the team. Yet no one mentions that Sherman is one of the best teammates in the league and is always mentioning and praising teammates in interviews. In the build-up to tomorrow’s big game the best corner in the league bought his teammates custom Beats by Dr. Dre headphones? Richie Incognito bullied a teammate of of the Miami Dolphins. Now tell me who’s a ‘thug’?
I’m sick and tired of the media making perfectly respectable athletes out to be ‘thugs’ because of their image and overlooking ones that cause harm on and off the field. When you compare the reaction to Sherman’s rant to Wes Welker’s unsportsman-like hit on Aqib Talib, it makes it seem like Welker’s hit was within the rules!
Like I mentioned before, Sherman writes incredibly good articles for the MMQB.com which I love reading, one of which was published on the backpage of the November 11th Sports Illustrated, entitled ‘If I ruled the league’. Obviously from the title, Sherman imagined himself in the place of current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and had some pretty honest and frighteningly real opinions on the NFL’s top guns’ shortcomings. In the article Sherman wrote that ‘I’m a guy who plays cornerback for the Seahawks, who makes $550,000 a year to control a small sliver of one of 32 NFL fields on any given Sunday. But let’s imagine, for a moment, I’m a much more powerful man, one who earns a salary—$30 million—higher than the best-paid player in the league.’ He wrote that once the season begins ‘the interests of the 1,700 players pale in importance to those of the 32 owners.’ He went on to voice his opinions about how receivers have difficulty not targeting receivers’ knees, due to the rules, he said he’d listen to former players like Hamza Abdullah about the league’s retiree benefit scheme. He said that he ‘wouldn’t pretend that knee and thigh pads prevent injuries. I’d never fine players for wearing the wrong length socks or cleats with too much or too little of one team color.’ and that ‘The NFL is nothing without the players, individuals whose creativity should be celebrated.’ ‘If I were commissioner, I’d actually care about my players.’ The last two lines of the piece are quite striking and hit home. Hard.’And if that were too difficult, if I found it was impossible to do the job asked of me by NFL owners and still do right by players, I’d do those incoming rookies the favor of not offering a hug they’ll soon regret.’ I was amazed at how honest and true Sherman was. He gave fans a sad but true insight into how politically driven the modern-day sports industry has become. Most retired players and even writers with no ties to the league wouldn’t have the courage to stand up to authority like that, yet I read or heard no praise for Sherman about this inspirational piece of writing. Instead I heard people call him unprofessional and a bad role model for what Sherman describes as ‘adrenaline talking’. Like Sherman says in another piece entitled To those who would call me a thug or worse, ‘I don’t want to be a villain, because I’m not a villainous person.’ Sherman’s outspoken, intelligent and downright honest. Sure he’s kind of cocky, but you would be if you’re the best corner in the game.
Call this a rant in itself if you want but just know that you can through whatever ‘thoughts’ (Slander) and ‘opinions’ (Slurs) at Sherman if you want because as he says himself:
I show passion on the football field—but that’s only a small part of who I am. If you want to judge me, I can handle it.
And this member of the twelfth man has got his back.