As great as the NFC title game between Seattle and San Francisco was this past weekend, Richard Sherman’s mouth managed to steal headlines. The aftermath of his tirade has brought about many varying reactions. There are several angles fans, players, and media members have taken regarding Sherman’s rant (which you can view again, here)
Some reactions were fair and deserving, however some were downright ridiculous. So, let’s make sense of Sherman, his comments, and future implications.
Firstly, Sherman proclaimed he is the best cornerback in the league. When you’re named to the All Pro’s first team and lead the league in interceptions, you have bragging rights. (Oh, and making the game winning play to send your team to the SuperBowl doesn’t hurt either). When victorious, you have a right to be proud of what you have accomplished, because it would be impossible for anyone to refute what is fact. However there is a big difference between proclaiming victory and belittling a formidable opponent.
Michael Crabtree isn’t Jerry Rice but he is respected for his craft and has performed well in this league. So maybe he said or did something to Sherman that he felt was disrespectful in the past. Even if that was the case, let your play do the talking and save the ranting for the locker room instead of national television. Win with class, lose with class.
Trash talking is welcomed to an extent in this league. It’s fun for fans and intensifies rivalries. However, draw a line that shows you still respect your opponent. San Francisco was 12-4 and played a closely contested game down to the last minute. They even beat Seattle once in the regular season. Give credit where it’s due and be gracious.
Next, comes an unfortunate angle taken by some ignorant and extremist people. There were those that associated the manner in which Sherman ranted as having to do with his race. The racist comments that were found on various social media platforms are downright audacious. (Those comments you can search for yourself, as this piece is trying to stay PG-rated). What if a white player would have said the same things? What does that make him? Sherman was in the heat of the moment and lost his cool. It is unfortunate that a professional was unable to exhibit any humility or grace in victory. At the same time, it does not make him any less of human being or have anything to do with his race. He was actually very calm when interviewed later in the postgame. To associate Sherman’s tirade with the fact that he is black is not only irrelevant, but immoral (don’t act like you’ve never lost your cool before).
Sherman is known for being outspoken. One of the more polarizing figures in the game, he is a media delight. So, credit Fox for having the courage to interview Sherman right after the game. They knew his emotions were running high and his adrenaline was through the roof. This resulted in one of the most famous rants in recent memory (also credit Fox for taking the camera off Sherman before he said something worthy of a fine from Mr. Goodell). Although Sherman’s comments were disrespectful towards his opponent, he refrained from using any curse words, and kept it PG. It was just overly aggressive and uncalled for.
So what have we learned? Richard Sherman is an elite player who helped his team when they needed him most. He did not act the way he did because of his ethnicity. He simply let his emotions get the better of him. He deserves criticism for showing zero class and became a villain in the process. His actions that were locker room material made for a national sports controversy. He is going to have live with a bad boy image. However something tells me that with earning a trip to the SuperBowl, he could care less. Let’s see what he has to say in another two weeks in New Jersey.