Archive for January, 2014

“I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you going to get.” Those are the now infamous word of Richard Sherman from his on field interview in the few seconds following the Seahawks NFC Championship win over the 49ers. Sherman took a lot of heat from fans who called him a thug, an embarrassment and much worse in the immediate aftermath of the statement. Shortly after the initial outburst, journalists ran to Sherman’s defense claiming that Sherman is to be lauded for making it out of Compton and into the NFL via Stanford University, blaming the backlash on his lower-class upbringing and his race, but that doesn’t quite seem right to me.

I’ll start by saying that I don’t have any problem with what Sherman said, and the fact that it’s become such a huge story is a little ridiculous. But with that said, anyone who has ever watched a post game interview before should not be shocked that Sherman faced criticism for his comments. When a player is being interviewed on the field after the game there is essentially a script they are meant to follow. When being asked about a big play you are supposed to applaud the effort of your opponent and your teammate who was actually able to come down with the interception while claiming that you were simply thankful to be in position to make a play. Instead, Sherman brought the full focus to himself and insulted his opponent. It was a genuine emotional response, when protocol dictated that he give a more robotic response. As the saying goes, ‘act like you been there before.’

Now, the other side of this is, if you’ve ever heard an interview with Richard Sherman you shouldn’t be surprised. Sherman doesn’t hide his emotion, he doesn’t go for humble. He’s worked incredibly hard to get where he is and he wants you to know he isn’t going anywhere. In a league that strives for sameness (they fine players for wearing their socks incorrectly or changing the color of their shoes) Sherman is not afraid to stand out, and some people are not going to like that. Sherman knows this and he doesn’t care, in the pass happy QB friendly NFL this is how you get noticed.

Maybe I’m naive to think Sherman’s race and background are irrelevant to the negative response he received, but I can’t imagine the reaction would have been all that much different if after the Broncos AFC Championship win over the Patriots, Peyton Manning proclaimed that he was the best quarterback in football and that any time he was up against a sorry defense like New England that would always be the result. Now, of course it’s difficult to imagine Peyton Manning saying that, especially seeing as his record was 4-10 against New England before Sunday’s match-up, but if he did I’m sure a lot of the same people would have taken to twitter calling him an ignorant hillbilly and a disgrace to his father’s legacy. Like I said I could be wrong, but I really hope not.

The bottom line is Richard Sherman made an emotional statement after an emotional win. He’s not lying when he says he’s the best corner in the game and if I were an NFL GM I’d give up multiple first round picks to get him on my team. He plays his heart out and he absolutely loves the game of football.