One week after his outburst in a postgame interview, the nation media and our readers are still debating what to make of Richard Sherman’s rant.
Now some of the reporters are digging beyond The Rant and apologies, and writing profiles. Seattle Times Seahawks reporter Jayson Jenks has been working the past few days on our own profile of Sherman. Look for it the next few days.
Here is some reaction locally and around the country.
Seattle Times readers
For the past week, commentators across the country have been demonizing Richard Sherman for his comments after the 49ers game. Some of the rhetoric has been downright hateful. Why is it that none of these prattling pontificators have not asked Michael Crabtree why he refused to shake hands with Sherman? Instead of shaking Sherman’s hand, Crabtree shoved him in the face. I have no doubt this is what set Sherman off.
So who is the REAL poor sport here?
- George Swanson, Auburn
Sherman likes it when people talk about him—good or bad. It’s good for business. After all, he does hold a degree from Stanford, one of the most prestigious universities in the country. He’s not a dummy and there’s likely a not-so-thinly-veiled method to his madness, because his words have caused quite the stir. I’d venture a guess and say that the man just raised his future monetary worth.
- Robbie Wiley
I hate to break it to all of the offended: Richard Sherman was simply acting in character.
His “character” is a trash talking, physical, in-your-face, intimidator. When he steps on the field, between those white lines, he becomes a superhero with a cape and a mask and a persona much different than that of a straight-A student and Stanford graduate. Superman was a much different, much more confident “hero” than Clark Kent ever could be. The football field is Sherman’s phone booth. And that’s exactly the prism of how Sherman and his 27-second interview should be viewed through.
- Damon Alexander
That Sherman has achieved this level of celebrity surprises few among his friends and family. That he is recognized less for his All-Pro cornerback skills than his swagger and his dreadlocks matters not. His older brother, Branton, said it was “destined to happen” because Sherman believes that he can create his own reality through visualization. Whatever he wants, whatever he needs — if he envisions it happening, it will.
Long before the acrobatic tip that saved Seattle’s season, before the rant that cast him as villainous to some and refreshing to others, Sherman survived gang-infested neighborhoods to compile a 4.2 grade-point average and receive a football scholarship to Stanford, where he also ran track and earned a degree in communication.
But let’s face it. Richard Sherman is as all-American as all-American gets. Pick your American trope and this young man embodies it. Brash, cocky performer who craves the spotlight. Rugged individualist who pulls himself up by own bootstraps, fanatically prepared and self-reliant. Iconoclast who speaks his mind and wears his style without fear. Hard-nosed capitalist who works at the intersection of big dreams and big money. Budding celebrity who manipulates his public image to mask his actual smarts and savvy—and perhaps his actual appreciation for family, team, tradition, causes greater than himself.
When you’re a public figure, there are rules. Here’s one: A public personality can be black, talented, or arrogant, but he can’t be any more than two of these traits at a time. It’s why antics and soundbites from guys like Brett Favre, Johnny Football and Bryce Harper seem almost hyper-American, capable of capturing the country’s imagination, but black superstars like Sherman, Floyd Mayweather, and Cam Newton are seen as polarizing, as selfish, as glory boys, as distasteful and perhaps offensive.
Yeah, they talk big games. They also back it up. We like our athletes to tell us they gotta play it one day at a time, that they’re just happy to be there, help the ballclub, give it their best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.
When they go off script, yell at sorry receiver … it makes people uncomfortable.
That’s our problem, not theirs.
he NFL regulated fun right out of pro football a long time ago, about the point when franchise irrelevancy crushed all those delightful free spirits who played for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. Who needs Ambien these days when a Tom Brady interview is available?
That’s why this whole Richard Sherman debate seems so misguided. Forget the sociopolitical smoke screens pundits have floated since the Seattle cornerback’s delightful rant last Sunday. I don’t care if Sherman went to Stanford or was Otis Sistrunk’s teammate at the University of Mars. Bless his heart for remembering in a brilliant moment of clarity that the NFL, beyond anything else, is an entertainment business, not that far evolved from professional wrestling.
Why did Fox Sports cut short the Richard Sherman interview with Erin Andrews last Sunday? The network addressed the reason in full on Thursday afternoon during a conference call with Fox Super Bowl announcers and production staffers.
“I saw a train coming down the tracks,” said Fox Sports producer Richie Zyontz, who produced the Seahawks-Niners game. “It was compelling television. And like Joe [Buck] had mentioned earlier [during the conference call] we kind of had a preview of that in our production meeting [with Sherman]. It started crossing over a line that I did not want to see us go. Erin handled it very well, but I kind of said, Let’s end this thing. He’s a good guy, an intelligent guy, an emotional guy and it was very compelling to watch. But it started getting a little dangerous for us.”
OK, sports world, let’s get one thing straight before the Super Bowl turns everything into a caricature.
Richard Sherman is a Seahawk.
The Seahawks aren’t Richard Sherman.
It was raw. It was real. And, it appears, it was about to become a referendum on any number of issues that transcended the beautiful, game-clinching football play by Sherman that set it all into motion.
Little things like sportsmanship, race and your personal value system. It turns out that many of those who watched his tirade against 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree reacted just as viscerally as Sherman did in the heat of his greatest athletic moment.
Beneath the talk and bravado, there’s a deeper individual there, and nothing I’ve seen or read from those who cover the Seahawks on a regular basis has led me to think otherwise. Sherman has already had a life experience that will serve him well as he matures.
Enter Richard Sherman, class of 2006 salutatorian. A sign by the door warns that maximum capacity in the weight room should be 29 people, but 50 or so players crowded inside to hear Sherman, the Seahawks’ cornerback, speak on March 7 last year. Once a wiry, 125-pound eighth-grader struggling to bench-press much of anything, Sherman, a Stanford University graduate, had just finished his second NFL season. All dreadlocks and smiles, he commanded attention.
“How many guys are going to the NFL?” Sherman said.
Forty players raised their hands.
Richard Sherman is a self-aggrandizing football narcissist. He is a Stanford graduate. He is a horrible character actor. He is a 6-foot-3-inch, game-changing cornerback who led the NFL in interceptions this season. He is a black male.
He is not a thug.
Richard Sherman could stand to make about $5 million in endorsements – all because of his 15-second rant moments after helping the Seattle Seahawks get to the Super Bowl.
Richard Sherman has said many times that one of his heroes is Muhammad Ali.
After his recent braggadocios rant Sunday, some people have compared Sherman to Ali’s bravado in his heyday.
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