If you have a Twitter account or have been on some form of news website in the past week, chances are you know who Richard Sherman is. More importantly you probably have heard about what he did.
On Jan. 19 in the NFC Championship game, Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, deflected what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Sherman swatted the ball right into one of his teammates hands for the game-sealing interception.
Moments after the game Fox Sports sideline reporter Erin Andrews caught up with Sherman to ask him about his thoughts on his NFC Championship-clinching play.
Sherman ignored the question, and instead went on his now infamous rant about how he is the best cornerback in the NFL and attacked Crabtree’s skills on the football field, calling him a mediocre receiver.
Sherman’s actions went viral. It seemed like everyone in America had an opinion on the outspoken cornerback from Compton, Calif. Sherman was labeled as a thug by people across the nation. His actions were seen as classless.
America has unfairly judged Sherman based solely on his postgame actions. I don’t want to discuss the fact Sherman graduated second in his high school class from a district with a graduation rate of 57 percent. Or that Sherman graduated from Stanford University with a 3.9 grade point average.
Those facts have been overflowing social media since the event occurred. Instead I want to hash out why Sherman’s rant became such a polarizing story, and also whom I blame for this all occurring in the first place.
Sherman’s actions took America by storm because Sherman made the people watching at home feel uncomfortable. Sherman’s interview was one of high energy and raw emotion. It was in your face, aggressive, and it was the first of its kind to be broadcast on national television.
It took most Americans by surprise. I updated my Twitter feed every 30 seconds or so to find a fresh reaction to Sherman’s response, and most of the negative responses on my feed came because people do not understand the mindset it takes to be a defensive player in the NFL.
Former NFL defensive back Brian Dawkins said it takes defensive players hours to come down from their in-game emotional highs. He said to be a defensive player you must be extremely animated and relentless.
This is why I blame the media for the post-game circus that was.
Take a moment and ask yourself, what do you expect a high-energy player like Sherman to say moments after he had just made the biggest play of his life on the grandest stage of his career? I’ll tell you: raw emotion is what you should expect.
Too many times in sports, individuals in the media will complain about the fact athletes give phony interviews, and they say very few pros give organic post-game responses.
Now sports fans everywhere finally receive what they have been asking for. A real, authentic, expressive interview and what do they do? Resent it.
Most the people of America were not ready for Sherman’s passionate rant. It made them feel uncomfortable and confused, but this all could have been avoided had the media not driven a microphone into the outspoken Seattle defensive back’s face.
If you can’t handle raw emotion and real responses that come with professional sports then don’t go looking for them.