Star’s Interview Distracts From Teammates’ Success
Sherman: Misunderstood or Vilified?
Published: Friday, January 24, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014 01:01
In the aftermath of Richard Sherman’s now infamous postgame interview with Erin Andrews, much has been said of the star cornerback. While some of the criticism has been over the top, it gets at a more important point: By making himself the story of the game, Sherman denied his teammates the praise they deserved.
It should be made clear that Richard Sherman is not a thug. Anyone who has said as much after watching Sherman on TV this weekend is doing so based solely on superficial judgments and preconceived notions. Given the presence of players who have actually done criminal things in their lives, the label “thug” in the context of Sherman’s antics just seems prejudiced. It is why Sherman is bothered the most by this description — he sees people perceiving his appearance and his background, and nothing more.
Further investigation reveals a very different — albeit still confident and passionate — man. Sherman grew up in Compton, the notorious region of Los Angeles, but he never let this define who he was or what he could accomplish. Sherman displayed a profound value in education that is uncommon among gifted athletes who can find success without the help of academics. While being recruited, he once made Pete Carroll wait two and a half hours to meet him because he did not want to leave class early. This diligence was rewarded with a 4.2 GPA, which combined with tremendous athletic ability, helped Sherman land a full ride to Stanford; he was the first from his high school to do so in over two decades.
Not satisfied to be just another collegiate athlete, Sherman continued to apply himself at Stanford, graduating with a 3.9 GPA in — somewhat fittingly — communications. Education is still a passion for Sherman, and as he alluded to in his recent comments, he gives back heavily through his charity Blanket Coverage, The Richard Sherman Family Foundation. Sherman’s comments in a profile for Sports Illustrated succinctly sum up his difference between perception and reality: “I know the jock stereotype — cool guy, walking around with your friends, not caring about school, not caring about anything. I hate that stereotype. I want to destroy it. I want to kill it.”
However, all of this does not make Sherman a victim, but rather makes his antics all the more frustrating. When I think of both Sherman’s NFC Championship postgame comments and the coverage that followed, only one word comes to mind: misguided.
Misguided not just because of the superficial judgments of Sherman, but also because Sherman did not think about the impact his actions would have on his teammates. Sherman’s aggressive, egotistical behavior on the football field is calculated gamesmanship, designed to give him a mental edge over his competition. His candor is entertaining at times, and it demonstrates his self-assuredness, but the reality is that nothing positive came from his comments to Andrews.
Regardless of his relationship with Michael Crabtree, Sherman’s decision to publicly criticize his abilities only shows that Sherman is incapable of taking the high road. And Sherman’s very public proclamation that he is the best cornerback in the NFL is both unnecessary and tasteless. The best don’t need to proclaim their greatness — and make no mistake, Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL right now. When he makes statements like these, Sherman has no one to blame but himself when people view him as self-centered.
To his credit, Sherman — aside from the “thug” label — does not seem to mind any of the backlash concerning his arrogance or his ego. His statements, however, affect others. Thanks to his thoughtlessness, Sherman has all but guaranteed that most will consider his Seahawks the villains of the Super Bowl. Sherman may not mind being seen as the villain, but that does not give him the right to carelessly ensure the image is planted on all of his teammates.
Beyond image concerns, Sherman let his team down because his statements made a moment that should have been about his teammates, fans and city instead of only about Richard Sherman. The Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL because of the efforts of the talented players throughout the front seven and the secondary, but all anyone sees is Sherman.
When his team should be gearing up to face the most prolific offense the NFL has ever seen, led by arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all time, Sherman has created a needless distraction. He has apologized for his actions, and most likely sincerely regrets the negative impact they have had on his team, but Sherman needs to remember this incident. Without maturity on the field, his tremendous accomplishments off the field — just like his teammates on Sunday — will be denied the recognition they deserve.
Darius Majd is a junior in the College. THE SPORTING LIFE appears every Friday.