Turned out to be a pretty good game between the Seahawks and the 49’ers with Seattle holding on to win 23–17.
If you watched it, you know the game was sealed with a last minute interception in the end zone by Malcolm Smith on a ball tipped by Seahawks corner back Richard Sherman as Colin Kaepernick tried to loft a ball to his wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Shortly after that play, Sherman sought out receiver Michael Crabtree, gave him a mocking pat on the back side and then got in his face, and promptly received a taunting penalty.
(Note: With a straight face, Sherman claims he was just trying to extend the spirit of sportsmanship to Michael Crabtree by saying “nice game”. Suuuuuuure you were, Richard.)
Maybe 2 minutes after that Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews put a microphone in Richard Sherman’s face and this is what transpired.
If you don’t know Richard Sherman’s back story, here’s the nutshell version:
He grew up in Compton. Straight A student in High School. First student ever from Compton’s Dominguez High School to earn a scholarship to Stanford.
Yeah. That Stanford.
Graduates from Stanford with a degree in communications.
Stand out in the classroom and on the field.
Is now, arguably, the best cover corner, in the NFL.
Pretty impressive young man.
Until he opens his mouth.
There have been some folks on the internet and in social media world rushing to Richard Sherman’s defense.
“Well….he just had his adrenaline going. Erin Andrews was crazy to interview him right then.”
“He plays with a chip on his shoulder. It’s what drives him.”
“You don’t understand how hard he had to work to get where he is…”
And so on, and so on, and so on.
In truth, those are all just excuses. And poor ones at that.
You can have your adrenaline going and not scream at a sideline reporter like a deranged lunatic.
Guys do it all the time. Guys who just made big plays in big games. Guys who are, say, over the age of about 12 anyway.
Playing with a chip on your shoulder is great. Lots of guys do that. Tom Brady does. Wes Welker does. Knowshon Moreno does. I don’t see them taunting people and calling people names in post-game interviews.
How hard he had to work to get there? Please. Who, in life, didn’t work hard to get where they are? Richard Sherman is a gifted athlete. Yeah, he put in his work. So what. So did everyone else in the NFL and thousand of guys who never made it.
For me, what this comes down to is maturity and respect.
Respect your opponent, if not for the basic rules of good sportsmanship, then at least because someday he may be your teammate.
Respect your team and your organization enough to never try to make yourself bigger or more important than the other men you go into battle with every weekend.
Respect the game because it was here before you, and it will be here long after you.
When people call you out for ridiculous, selfish, juvenile, idiotic behavior like this interview, respect yourself enough to not waste everyone’s time by accusing your detractors of racism.
And respect yourself enough to install some sort of filter between your brain and your mouth.
Not every thought needs to be verbalized.
Even if you did go to Stanford.