Why The Richard Sherman Critics Are Wrong
We asked for someone like Sherman. We root for someone like Sherman. Why are we shocked?
There are some preconceived expectations we have when it comes to winners and losers. Traits that we even try to pass to our children as we make them shake hands after sports. Be a good sport. Be a good winner — and there are general agreed upon ways to conduct oneself to be those things.
Richard Sherman wasn’t any of those things Sunday night following his Seahawks' win over the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship . He provided a post-game interview that will be replayed forever in infamy. It wasn’t his finest moment after his finest moment. He was both classless and classy at the same time.
And, the internet exploded with views on what he had been or hadn’t been. While he isn’t the face of the organization, the team was called what he was or wasn’t as well.
But, did he really do anything wrong?
Did he really do anything that we didn’t all want?
Most importantly, can any fan from any other team really speak out and not sound like a hypocrite?
We all complain athletes and news media push the post-game (or worse, the mid-game) interview and we never hear anything of value. No insight is provided. No knowledge is gained. Our time is wasted as the reporters try to ask the hard questions. If you need any proof, look no further than Pam Oliver's overly dramatic life-and-death question tossed at poor Jim Harbaugh, who just wanted to go congratulate his team on a great season.
Instead, FOX got exactly what they wanted. They didn’t go to the winning quarterback like they normally would. Russell Wilson is too humble and un-sound bite worthy. They went straight to Sherman, who is known for his loudmouth brash ways two minutes after his game saving, season saving, Super Bowl sending play.
After years of being mad at the opposing coach, seasons of rivalry, and a full game of seeing little action, Sherman finally got a chance to shine and he came through in a major way… Then he exploded in a major way, expressing just like we want to see.
We didn’t get more “they played great. We played hard. Blah blah blah.”
Sherman was called a thousand names for “uneducated” and many racial slurs. Coming off the biggest game of his career he wasn’t going to sound anything less than a WWE wrestler. Yes, he shouldn’t have called out the opposing player. That is not a good winner. But, if you were to ask anyone that sacked a quarterback as he is stomping around in excitement they won’t sound like a great winner either. Just like if you put a microphone in front of Harbaugh after the Bowman non-fumble, he would not have come across as a good winner.
This is why we give players time to come down before we ask the questions.
But, if this is the state of things to come, shouldn’t we be happy for the RAW emotion we’ll hear. Shouldn’t we want FOX to take it to the next step and place mics on everyone with tiny earpieces? I can hear it now, “Colin, you just ran 40 yards like a gazelle through Seattle’s grass. How happy are you right now?”
As you saw, fifteen minutes later, Sherman joined the FOX post-game commentary crew. He was composed. He was collected. He was closer to being a “good winner”. Why? Because he is actually a Stanford graduate with a degree in communications.
As far as judging the rest of the team, it is silly to call the Seahawks organization classless for one man. That would be sillier than lambasting Seattle’s 12th Man for cheering too loudly. It is a team whose face is good guy Russell Wilson, who volunteers weekly. Fan favorite, Marshawn Lynch, is known for his charity work in Oakland. Many of the players were featured in a Christian documentary called “The Making of a Champion.” Fans raised money for a San Francisco hospital. The kicker says a prayer as he kicks.
A mostly good team for a good city.
Besides all of that, no organization is so truly clean that any of their fans can call themselves “classy” or any other organization “un-classy”. From owners that move teams to organizations that pay players to hurt people; to criminals; to fans that throw things at Santa — every team has some element that makes them less than classy.
Richard Sherman is not Seattle any more than he is every person on the Seahawks team. Just like Aldon Smith and his drug use is not a representation of the team and city of San Francisco — or Bill Belichick and spying is of Boston.
If none of the above hasn’t changed your views slightly then let me ask you one last question.
Did you tweet/post/write/shout when the undressed player on the 49ers sideline braced for impact with Jeremy Lane during a punt, adding a little extra elbow, sending Lane to Harbaugh’s feet?
If Richard Sherman said his opinion in the heat of the moment and everyone called him unclassy, then why didn’t anyone cry out for poor Lane? Was it because it didn’t have the catchy sound bite? Was there some pre-thought going into it? Maybe both.
Neither folks were “classy” during a hard fought game. Sometimes some incivilities come out. That is why we have referees — to prevent things from getting out of control. But, let’s be honest, internet folks — this isn’t a Jane Eyre novel. This is football with the hitting and the blood and the tackling. Sometimes, mean things are said.
If we don’t like it, the mostly low heart racing sports of the Winter Olympics is coming up soon. No one gives passionate interviews after a curling event, if you could ask a question in the middle of a sweep.
Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Getty