richard-sherman-erin-andrews

When FOX’s Erin Andrews walked up to Richard Sherman on Sunday night following an epic NFC Championship Game victory for Sherman’s Seattle Seahawks, she knew what was going to come next. This isn’t to say Andrews is smarter than every reporter in America but you have to also know the capabilities of Richard K. Sherman – Stanford graduate and the most open trash talker in the NFL who just so happens to be the best man coverage corner in the league.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to while sipping your AM coffee, watch this. Then, watch this.

Sherman turned into your favorite heel wrestler dropping a promo. He berated 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree who had apparently disrespected him during an offseason incident and repeatedly called him “mediocre”, this following Sherman making the biggest play of the game and securing his team a trip to the Super Bowl. It made half of the world stand up and laugh, maybe even cheer at his in the moment honesty but it opened up a ton of vitriol in the form of dumb racist comments and shots saying Sherman had “no class” and is a “thug”.

Really?

Trust me, “thug” in this case is the safe word when certain people want to say another word that doesn’t get a certain section of Twitter to delve inside their personal lives.  A lot of ugliness gets spewed on social media and thanks to that glass of anonymity, people can make up their own interpretations of things that others can see clear as night and day. Sherman got called a monkey, an ape, the N-word and a host of other things as reported by this Deadspin article.

The irony of it all? Sherman has a commercial with headphone line Beats By Dre in which he dismisses the comment of being called a “thug” by a reporter and just throws on his headphones.

People even chose to acclimate Andrews, the reporter who just got a career moment of awkward awesomeness with Ann Darrow, the woman who was snatched by King Kong and taken to the Empire State building. “I’m sorry Richard Sherman scared you,” one tweeter told Andrews.

Why exactly are we rushing to buy Superman capes for her? Did we go to the clearance aisle when Jim Harbaugh, a man who couldn’t be restrained if you tried stared down the wig piece of Pam Oliver post game? Why didn’t anyone come to Oliver’s defense? No?

Wonder why.

You aren’t going to get a lot of “class” in football. You aren’t going to get a giant psychoanalysis of football players who are always supposed to react with grace after making a big play. Your human reaction is to celebrate, talk, and enjoy the moment as only you can express it. There’s rarely any mention of Sherman’s more composed interview with FOX’s pregame crew but his sentiment towards Crabtree is still there. Sherman did what he’s done to Tom Brady & Trent Williams previously in the face of Crabtree – he talked, he wolfed and for a guy who plays with maybe a chip on his shoulder the size of the nation’s deficit, it was right on time. And those who previously did all the woofing and talking in their NFL careers like Deion Sanders, Cris Carter and others in similar fashion who are now rushing to say he went “too far” must live in a separate world where none of their antics were documented — but we all know they happened.

He’s a classic case of the “if he’s not on your team, you hate him but if he plays for you then you love him” rhetoric you find labeled upon many “problem” players in sports. They’re antagonists, its their job to get under your skin and drive you to a point where your game is rattled and shaken. Does some of his antics such as purposely drawing reactions from players to draw flags irk me? Sure, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t one of the more cocky and confident players in the league who can actually back it up.

Writers are in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position when it comes to athletes and quotes. They love for the one moment that Sherman gave us and lambast any and all others that give out cliché answers straight from the Peyton Manning/Tom Brady playbook. However, when they do get their “Sherman moment”, it turns into a giant secondary conversation on class, humility and respect. Pick a “narrative” and roll with it.

I’m not all that sorry Richard Sherman scared you America, it’s why you don’t give ammunition to people who are already overly confident. Because now you get a subplot for the Super Bowl – a villain for Peyton Manning to crush and the media gets two whole weeks to make Richard Sherman even more of a soundbyte.