Everybody’s got an opinion about Richard Sherman, who has become
the face, ah, make that the voice, of the Seattle Seahawks. The
Internet is full of Sherman stories. Before we get to some of them,
here’s my quick thought on what transpired at the end of Sunday’s
game at CenturyLink:
It’s an emotional game, and Sherman clearly got caught up in the
excitement and energy of making a game-saving play in the biggest
game of his life, but
he’s apologized for taking the attention away from his
teammates. I didn’t mind the post-game rant, I rather enjoyed it
and I’m a card-carrying AARP-member. I didn’t like the choke sign.
That was bush-league. Can he tone it down? Sure, but this is a
supremely confident athlete. He’s a smack-talker, but he’s not a
thug. He wears his bravado on his sleeve like Muhammad Ali. He’s
the mouth that roars, and it’ll be interesting to see how he
handles the bright lights of Super Bowl media week in New York.
You’re not going to get a lot of boring, cliche-like answers from
him, but I don’t think he’ll give Peyton Manning and the Broncos
any bulletin board material either. Richard Sherman’s too smart for
that, and I think he’ll learn from how he reacted following the
Seahawks’ NFC Championship game.
The most disturbing part of the Richard Sherman saga? Reading
some of the ignorant and racially-implied online comments directed
toward Sherman on the Internet. That tells me more about their
character than his.
He talks about that and more in this revealing
interview with Rachel Nichols of CNN.com.
Love him or hate him, Peter
King of mmqbSI.com says everybody
is fascinated about the
“I think this story has really caught on because everyone
loves a villain,’’ said Dr. Annemarie Farrell, a professor of
sports management and media at Ithaca College. She is an expert in
fan behavior. “There’s not a ton of villains on either of these
teams that people can talk about. We can’t all talk about Peyton
Manning every day all the time. That’s boring. Sherman, on the
other hand, put himself out there, and America really latched on.
That’s why it became a bigger story than the game.
“There’s a lot of different storylines with Richard and
reasons for why this blew up, but I think a really important one
here is race. This seethes into this narrative of race in America
and race logic. Think about who Richard Sherman is. He’s a kid from
Compton who graduated second in his class and went to Stanford to
earn a degree in Communications. He’s at a critical point in his
football career, makes a huge play, then a reporter sticks a mike
in his face. What does he do? He not only speaks, he shouts. And
now you have an angry, almost violent black man, in a very
passionate moment, yelling on national television.’’
Stanford coach David Shaw was the defensive coordinator when
Sherman played for the Cardinal.
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News asked him about
“Bill Walsh said you want guys with high character who are great
players and great people,” Shaw said. ”But every once in a
while, you have to line up and defend Jerry Rice. And the guy who
does that has to be on the edge. That’s where Richard is.”
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes:
There is nothing wrong with not liking Sherman. As sure as
he is free to act as he chooses, fans are free to judge him on that
and react accordingly. That’s part of the deal. The only mistake is
to assume that everyone in the NFL should act the same way – or
more specifically act like you think you would act if it were you
who was playing the game.
Jamie Fritz, who manages Sherman’s marketing deals,
told ESPN.com: “We live in a world where so many are
politically correct, so many are all about media training. There’s
one thing that you can count on from Richard, and that is that he’s
always going to speak his mind.”
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times defends Sherman. He
“… he is the example of everything that is wrong with some
modern professional football fans. A guy fights for
three hours and winds up throwing the punch of his life in the most
important professional moment of his life, and America expects him
to immediately start blowing kisses?”
Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune is among those who
finds Sherman refreshing:
“You want classy? Go to the opera. Sherman sounded like
football. Good for him. Good for our entertainment.
“Admit it, you loved it, too. Stop lying to yourselves. It’s
a bad habit, it’s patently phony, and people are already pointing
at you and talking about you.
“Sherman was himself. He was a thing, and it was hysterical.
He was funny, colorful, entertaining. This is not a G-8 meeting,
people. It’s entertainment.
“It’s entertainment that includes a guy suffering a torn ACL
for our pleasure.
“It’s entertainment that includes players welcoming the
early stages of brain damage for our pleasure.
“Wise up, folks. When you’re asking people to bring on early
dementia and early death, yeah, there’s a chance they’ll be geeked
“And when a player makes the key play in a conference
championship game and has a live mic stuck in front of him, then
yeah, there’s a chance he’ll still be geeked up.”
Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that Sherman
has made it all about himself.
“Richard Sherman may make you root against him,
against his team, root even harder for Peyton Manning to come win
the big game in Eli’s house. But Sherman’s face was as much the
face of his sport as Peyton’s was on championship Sunday. His
voice, like it or not, drowned out everything else, even all that
noise in Seattle.
“He hits town in a week. It is more likely Richard Sherman
runs out of saliva before he runs out of material. Peyton may light
him up in the game, it’s happened to loudmouth defensive backs in
Super Bowls before. Until then, Sherman will think all the bright
lights of the big city are about him.”
ALSO: According to vegasinsider.com, the
favorite is just 1-5 in the last six Super Bowls and 3-9 in the
last 12 against the spread. Several Vegas bookies had the Seahawks
as early favorites, but the line moved in Denver’s favor and the
Broncos are now 2-point favorites. That line, of course, could move
as we get closer to the game.