Ah, you’ve seen it. Richard Sherman’s thunderous comments after the NFC Championship football game in which his team, the Seattle Seahawks, beat the San Francisco 49ers to move on to play in the Super Bowl. If you have seen it, then you’ve also seen Fox sports reporter, Erin Andrews, approach Sherman after the game, thrust a microphone into his face and asked him about his game saving pass deflection from rival player Michael Crabtree with only seconds left in game regulation.
Yeah, you’ve seen it. It was a direct comment aimed at his opponent similar to other performances and utterances used by the All-Pro defensive back to win a psychological war against opponents. It was great, it was entertaining, and it was basically right on. Sherman’s comment was the topic of discussion throughout the following day. “Sherman had no right to say that!” and “Sherman is no more than a common thug!” Those were some of the remarks mentioned by sports writers and water cooler gatherers alike. Well, did Sherman lie? A question was asked; and in the spirit of the moment, Sherman answered it... in extreme.
The Compton, California born, Stanford educated player who could have left early for the NFL but returned for his final year of eligibility in order to begin a Master degree indeed voiced his opinion of the final defensive play of the game. Sherman, who overcame much in his lifetime, wrote a column immediately afterwards to reply to people referring to him as being a thug and a brute. Richard Sherman holds a degree in Communications and is fully capable of expressing himself in any form and in any situation. However, when you ask someone a question after a win over his team's rival, after physically beating the competitor on the gridiron, while playing in an environment that is recorded as one of the loudest places in the world; well, the response that you get is….well, that is the response that you get.
So, who’s the thug here? The Stanford graduate who gave nearly his entire physical and mental being in front of millions of viewers; or the one who looks at a black man with dreadlocks who expresses every ounce of himself and then considers him to be a brute because his boisterous response is in the presence of an attractive-looking white woman (hey now, no disrespect intended).
In the week that we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the man who is the voice behind the concept of judging one by the content of their overall character alone, there is no way that we can not look at ourselves and truly discover the source of our opinions regarding Richard Sherman’s words. And if you were more concerned about the matter because you're a 49ers fan then I certainly understand why you don’t like Richard Sherman. However, if you think that he poorly represents black people, or if you feel that he’s simply a man filled with ignorance; well, continue to dig deeper into your thoughts. Perhaps you have a few more issues than you originally thought.
So congratulations to you, Richard Sherman; and not simply because you won a football game, but because you perfectly conveyed your message. Somehow, you've managed to speak to our souls, as well as our ears. Hmm....it must be that Compton upbringing.