Rant doesn’t define Sherman

Published 12:02 am Sunday, January 26, 2014

After last weekend’s post-game interview with Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman, audiences learned three things:

  • Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL. Just ask him.
  • You shouldn’t talk about Richard Sherman.
  • Richard Sherman isn’t terribly fond of 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree.

Ironically enough, the one demand Sherman made — “Don’t you ever talk about me” — has been disobeyed by virtually everyone who was within earshot of his postgame interview (or had Internet access).

Sherman called Crabtree a “sorry receiver” and proceeded to give what was possibly the most explosive on-the-field interview I’ve ever witnessed. FoxSports sideline reporter Erin Andrews did an excellent job maintaining her composure and asking a relevant follow-up question: “Who was talking about you?”

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Shortly after Sherman’s rant, words like “classless” and “thug” were tossed around social media and Internet message boards at blazing speeds. Sherman’s intelligence was brought to question, as some assumed he was just some dumb guy who was athletically gifted enough to make it in the NFL.

First, let’s clear something up — Sherman is no dummy. He has a degree from Stanford and is quite articulate, judging by other interviews he’s given. As far as the “thug” label goes, Sherman heads up the Blanket Coverage foundation, which provides underpriveged children with school supplies and clothing. If you have the time, go watch this video and try to tell me he fits the “thug” label: tinyurl.com/kaw56s7.

Which leaves us with the accusations of him being classless. Certainly, he could have been much more respectful toward Crabtree. Calling him a “sorry receiver” is not something I can justify, no matter how I look at it.

It’s important to remember, though, that we weren’t privy to what Crabtree might have been saying to Sherman on the field. Supposedly, there was also an incident at a charity event in the offseason that put the two at odds. The point is, Sherman didn’t just lash out for no reason. Something provoked him.

And for those who were horrified that he went on a professional wrestling-like tirade, understand that football is a game where adrenaline, egos and testosterone are all in the mix. It was only a matter of time before someone went over the edge.

You’re going to have to forgive me for this, but personally, I’m at least somewhat relieved to see an athlete give his real thoughts rather than say the politically correct thing. No, I can’t defend him calling Crabtree “sorry,” but at least he wasn’t trying to put on a pretty image in front of the camera.

Smack talk is a part of the game of football, and that goes all the way down to the high school level. It’s not a gentlemen’s game no matter how much some would like it to be. Sherman is no more “classless” or a “thug” than any of the numerous other players that talk trash on the field. He just happened to let it carry over after the game was finished.