Whether you’re a football fan or not, chances are this postgame interview has blown up your news/Twitterfeed in the past 24 hours. Richard Sherman, everybody!
Not going to lie, the interview left me with mixed emotions. For one, I can’t stop watching the interview. It’s so entertaining – it reminds me of those great wrestling promos featuring Macho Man, Ric Flair, Hulkamania, and The Rock. If ya smellllllll what Richard Sherman is cooking!!
Part of me, though, is furious that someone of Sherman’s stature (arguably the best cornerback in the game) would embarrass an opposing player as well as his own team and city in such a brazen manner. And I wasn’t alone. A lot of other people were similarly horrified and they took to the Twitterverse to voice their displeasure of Sherman’s words and attitude. Unfortunately, some skewed logic led them many of them–too many–to conclude his race was the root cause of this poor attitude. Deadspin was able to collect the nasty, racist tweets of an ignorant American populace and the collection is disturbing. (Warning: racist, NSFW language included in the link). In a week that we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this response to Sherman’s postgame interview should remind the nation that we still have much work to do.
But wait, there’s more. If we look at Richard Sherman a little more deeply and not merely as the trash-talking, pro-wrestling heel caricature (and hilarious emailer), then we find an articulate Stanford alumnus who devours football information and processes it brilliantly to great success on the field. Behind the brash bravado is one of the craftiest, best-prepared players in the NFL. See the video below.
That second video forced me to cool my opinion of Sherman and darnit, I respect him as both a football player and a man. I’m still annoyed that such an intelligent man could lose control over himself so egregiously on national television, but I think we can give the man a chance to explain himself. As annoyed as I am, I cannot help but marvel at his talent, his work ethic, and his generosity with his teammates. Who knows, I just may root for Seattle in the Super Bowl now.
Richard Sherman cover image courtesy Flickr user Football Schedule, found here.