by Jules Gonsoulin
Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman has effectively placed himself under the media microscope since his 15-second rant after Seattle’s NFC championship game against the Seahawks’ rivals, the San Francisco 49ers. Seriously though, should he care if ESPN trashes him day-in and day-out? To understand Sherman’s perspective, we need to take a look at his history in the National Football League.
First of all, the rant was aimed at San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has a heated rivalry with Sherman. Rivalries are good for sports. They fuel passion and intensity in every game. So why Sherman is only “allowed” to express his emotions towards the rivalry in private is beyond me. Sherman plays “old fashioned football,” as he delicately put it in his widely publicized press conference; he plays with a type of intensity and love for the game that is very rare among current players.
Is it really that strange that after a wire-to-wire, heated championship that also happened to be a rivalry matchup—wherein Sherman made the play that decided the entire outcome of the game—he could not hold back his passion in the post-game interview? It was refreshing, to say the least. Players nowadays are too caught up in fines and penalties that they seem petrified of the league, scared to say what they really want to say. Professional football players sacrifice their individualities for a league that seems to change its rules and policies every year.
Sherman is Stanford-educated and Compton, Calif.-bred. He’s tough, and he can back up his claims, as well as intellectually and clearly address the media. He took serious offense to the crowds of haters calling him a “thug,” now-famously asserting that calling someone a thug is a socially acceptable way of calling them the N-word. This is the kind of publicity he didn’t intend to receive. Although he is tough, he doesn’t want the thug persona to be part of his game. Sherman believes he has worked too hard his entire life to overcome that kind of adversity, and who can doubt him? He is clearly the best corner in the NFL right now (this is not just his or my opinion—he is mathematically the best). He leads the league with eight interceptions on the season, the most important statistic for any corner. More importantly, he has lead Seattle to the rank of No. 1 defense for the past season, and the organization’s first ever Super Bowl championship—a dominating 43-8 blowout of the Denver Broncos.
Richard Sherman is undoubtedly one of the more important and influential players in the league, and that is why he deserves publicity. A 15-second rant shouldn’t jeopardize his reputation but, if that really affected him mentally, he wouldn’t be the best.