I’ve watched Richard Sherman’s astonishing postgame rant about Michael Crabtree over and over again, and it never seems to get old. Like some of the great rants in sports history – think Muhammad Ali, Tommy Lasorda, Jim Mora and Dennis Green – it ages well.
It’s also the white-hot center of the hottest story I’ve seen in years in Seattle sports, and in the middle of a local and national debate in the media and on social media. He has tried to explain himself in a SI.com posting that received over 4 million page views and on Twitter. The uproar hasn’t subsided.
A poll we posted Monday night shows the intensity of the debate and the disparity of reactions. In about 24 hours through Tuesday night, we received more than 9,800 votes. The vote was almost evenly split three ways. About 36 percent chose “I’m disappointed: But I’ll forgive his emotional reaction.” About 35 percent were “Fine with it: He won and can say what he wants.” About 29 percent said they “Hated it: It was classless and offensive.” Our survey is far from scientific, but it shows the division.
Now readers are weighing in, via a steady stream of email, voicemail and comments on our stories and blog posts. Before my inbox is swamped, here are a few of the early responses, for and against:
Remember, you’re a role model
Someone should ask Richard Sherman which Richard that he would like folks to know. I have heard him speak with intelligence and thoughtfulness and heard him speak like he did on the FOX Sports interview with Erin Andrews. Like it or not, he is a role model and a spokesman for the Seahawks and even for sports fans in this area. Hopefully he will keep that in mind if anybody puts a microphone in front of him again.
– Don Curtis
Marred by disappointing display
Larry Stone’s column about Richard Sherman (Tuesday) was measured and sensible. It’s too bad that his disappointing display took away from the wonderful athletic play that he made and from a terrific game. But the media loves the bombast, and the Super Bowl, a game that needed no extra hype, just got an extra jolt.
– Doug Glant
Big deal, he vented
Congratulations to Richard Sherman because of his phenomenal play the Hawks are going to the Super Bowl. Now everyone lay off him. He graciously went to shake the hand of Crabtree and was pushed in the face.
So he vented; big deal. We have wussified everything in this country in the name of political correctness. Now, will the media please let it go and focus on the big game with Denver. It’s over, let it go and move on.
– Lynn Bukowski, Auburn
Keep up the woofin’
Come on, Sherman, you don’t need to apologize. As a Broncos fan, watchin’ this foolish woofin’ from afar, I can only hope you keep it up. Always can use this kind of ranting for the bulletin board. We prefer that you be that fool behind the mic and the mouth that roars.
Enjoy your time in the spotlight, dude, you earned it. But what will you be doin’ on Feb 2 afternoon? Will you be talkin’ or playin’? Deep sigh.
– G.E. Krygier, Denver
Racially coded criticism
Richard Sherman, a straight-A high-school student and Stanford-educated football player, has aroused great controversy by having the audacity to display emotion and passion after an historic victory. Predictably, the above description of Sherman has now been relegated by racially coded language that Sherman is a “thug” and that his postgame interview with Erin Andrews was somehow “threatening.”
It’s simple: If you don’t want emotional, raw reactions from players, then don’t interview them seconds after an emotional victory in the biggest game of their professional lives.
This is not a racial or gender-based argument, it’s simply about how the media skews and distorts the public image of a player, often using racially coded language and neglecting to provide a comprehensive and factual depiction of the player.
– Jonathan Keyserk, Newark, Del.
Hard to root for immaturity
The Seahawks have been viewed as cocky bullies by many. Richard Sherman has just cemented that reputation.
His taunting of San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree, both during the game and after, was shameful and detracted from the victory. This comes a few weeks after Golden Tate’s childish taunting of the St. Louis Rams. Kids, who idolize these players, will unfortunately emulate this unsportsmanlike behavior.
The team and the NFL need to come down hard on such embarrassing displays. Players who taunt should not only be fined (substantial fines, not the slap on the wrist that Tate received), but also suspended for one game, even if that next game is the Super Bowl.
Enough is enough. Grow up, players. It’s hard to root for immature, sore winners.
– Matthew Barry, Issaquah
Athleticism was the difference
My 33-year-old son, who lives in Ballard, and I were texting throughout Sunday’s big game. Despite all the bitter talk between Richard Sherman of the Seahawks and Michael Crabtree of the 49ers, I managed to send one final note to my boy: “Kaepernick’s pass was on the mark. Sherman’s altheticism was the difference.”
Hats off the Hawks.
– Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.
Let play to do the talking
I live in Maryland (by way of Anacortes), yet I remain a Seahawks fan. Having said that, I can only hope that Peyton Manning’s first rocket hits Richard Sherman squarely in his mouth. Ravens fans here wonder how I can possibly back a team featuring such an egomaniac. I certainly wish someone could rein him in a bit and let his play do the talking.
– Mike Hutchins, Middle River, Md.
The life of an educated athlete
Richard Sherman is the only NFL player I have found in a web search who mentioned reading the “Iliad.”
Of course, there’s a resonance with his competitive sports career to the fundamental literary war work, but more important, he represents well the life of an educated athlete. Plus, Homeric trash talk was much, much worse.
Kudos to Sherman.
– Greg Thilmont, Seattle
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