Media Fails to Present Sherman’s True Nature
Sherman: Misunderstood or Vilified?
Published: Friday, January 24, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014 02:01
If I had a choice, Richard Sherman would not have done the interviews with Erin Andrews the way he did. I have never been a huge fan of bragging after the fact, and I actually have taken issue with some of Sherman’s previous antics. He clearly has a history with Michael Crabtree, and I can kind of understand his wanting to get in a guy’s face who talked trash but couldn’t back it up. However Sherman making the choking sign at Colin Kaepernick, getting in Trent Williams’ face after the Seahawks beat the Redskins a year ago in the playoffs or confronting Tom Brady after a Week six victory last year, seemed more unprovoked than what transpired on Sunday.
Nevertheless, Sherman does not even remotely deserve the villainous status that many are giving him. Listening to those who brand him a thug, it’s clear that their reasoning is irrational at best and plain stupid at worst.
Let’s start off with a reason to hate Sherman that is so illogical that I can’t help but laugh: “Sherman shouldn’t have yelled at Erin Andrews like that — he shouldn’t have treated her that way.” For those who haven’t heard someone use this talking point: Yes, there are people actually saying it. First of all, Andrews later said of the interview, “That was so awesome. And I loved it.” Second, sideline reporters make part of their living off of how much airtime they receive, and now Andrews is attached to an incredibly popular interview. If anyone is trying to paint Erin Andrews as a victim in order to hate on Richard Sherman, please graduate from the “Skip Bayless School of Using Dumb Points to Make a Bad Argument” and join us all in the real world.
I also find it funny that so many people ripped Richard Sherman on Sunday night while lauding Muhammad Ali’s greatness on Monday — Martin Luther King Day. I, along with the majority of America, believe Muhammad Ali is awesome. Let’s juxtapose Ali and Sherman and see if a re-evaluation of our opinions on trash talkers is necessary. On Monday, many focused on Muhammad Ali’s role in Martin Luther King’s fights against racism and the Vietnam War. People talked about Ali with justified esteem, and many even embraced the fact that he was the biggest trash talker of all time. Muhammad Ali’s quotes to the press make Richard Sherman’s time in front of a microphone look as bland as Bill Belichick’s. Granted, Ali did the vast majority of his talking before a match and not after, and Sherman is being criticized for what he said after the game was over. I still can’t help shake the feeling that people are being just a little bit inconsistent by embracing the trash talking of Ali while hating Sherman’s.
The most important issue here, though, is one that Richard Sherman said himself: “Don’t judge a person’s character by what they do [on the field.] Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”
I couldn’t agree more. I can’t begin to comprehend why many feel that an on-the-field postgame press conference after making a spectacular play to win the NFC Championship is an accurate representation of someone’s character and morality. We want our athletes to be testosterone-driven, emotional beasts on the field so that they can entertain us at the highest level; we stick microphones in their faces to get great quotes out of them before they’ve even stopped sweating. But when they actually say something interesting, we tell them to shut up. We call out their character and call them thugs because those same emotions that we ask for on the field caused an overly passionate answer. I didn’t like Sherman’s answers, either, but I don’t hate him for them. However, I do hate the asinine things some have said about Sherman, like calling him a thug.
Richard Sherman grew up in Compton. He and his family were regarded as such good people that Bloods and Crips gang members, tried to keep Richard and his brother away from street violence. Now, he runs a charity called Blanket Coverage that helps kids in similar situations buy clothes and supplies for school.
Richard Sherman is a loudmouth, but not a thug, and he is arrogant, but not self-centered. While I don’t know every person who will read this column, odds are that Richard Sherman has done more to help out struggling communities than you or I ever will. If you think I should’ve said that in gentler terms, sorry. I was only impersonating Richard Sherman.
Tom Hoff is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. DOWN TO THE WIRE
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