The last guy in America to give you an opinion on Richard Sherman

January 22, 2014 | Drew Forrester

The last guy in America to give you an opinion on Richard Sherman

As Eminem says at the beginning of his song, “Square Dance” — “It feels so good to be back…”

I didn’t really miss much, I guess.

The Terps lost to a bad NC State team who somehow won without their best player in uniform.

The Ravens have a list of four offensive coordinator candidates in the “let’s do our best to make the fans think we did our due diligence before we give the job to Jim Hostler” sweepstakes.

The Caps have a six game winless streak intact after last night’s 2-0 loss to Ottawa.

And, of course, the Orioles haven’t done anything since I left for sunny Florida last Friday.

Wait, what about Richard Sherman?  I’m the last guy in America to opine on the Seahawks’ cornerback, which might give me a major advantage since I’ve had plenty of time to think about what I was going to say (write) when the subject came up on the show.

That said, what I think “now” is what I was thinking immediately after the game on Sunday night when I watched him go nuts in the interview with Erin Andrews.  Nothing has changed.  What I thought then is what I think now.

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Richard Sherman is an excellent football player.

He made the kind of play an excellent player makes on an underthrown ball in the end zone with the game on the line.

Last week on the show, long before his tirade after Seattle’s win over the 49′ers, I called him “the best cornerback in the league”.

He’s also a Stanford graduate, as you’ve all read or heard by now, and a well thought-out writer and communicator, as he proved on Monday morning when he produced a self-defense piece that was published by SI.Com not even twelve hours after (hashtag) #RichardSherman became Twitter’s number one trending subject.

Sherman also apologized (sort of) for taking the focus away from his team with his post-game tongue lashing of 49′ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Lots of people called Sherman a “thug” on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, even.  A lot of the things you’ve read on Twitter or in sports pieces across the country have tiptoed on the line of racism when it comes to opining on Richard Sherman.

Some folks have defended him by pointing to his communications degree from Stanford and saying, “A thug wouldn’t have a degree from Stanford.”  I’d remind you that Ted Bundy had a college degree, too.  I don’t think that mattered when the government executed him for capital murder, but he did, in fact, have a college degree.

As far as I’ve seen, no one has really touched on the meat of the subject as far as Richard Sherman goes.

Maybe I will.

I don’t know if Richard Sherman is a thug.  I know lots of people think he is and I’ll readily admit a lot of what he says and does comes across as someone without regard to authority — if that’s some sort of ironclad characteristic of a thug.  But, I don’t know him at all and can’t make any judgment on that definition of his character.

I do know he’s been targeted as a NFL rules breaker — having once tested positive for Adderall — but was able to successfully appeal his suspension back in 2012.

That, alone, doesn’t make him a “thug”, though, as some have asserted.

Jumping up and down and screaming into the microphone like Roddy Rowdy Piper doesn’t make him a thug, either.  I don’t think we want to get into a discussion about the overall behavior of NFL players and how much they do the “look at me” gestures after making a play, scoring a touchdown or winning a game.

I don’t know if Richard Sherman is a thug.

But I do know this about him — and this is precisely what I thought after I watched his post-game tirade on Sunday.

He’s a poor representative of a champion.

That’s all.

I didn’t say he was a bad guy.  Didn’t say he was a fool.  Not even saying he’s a jerk.

But a player reaching that level of success should know how to behave after winning the conference championship and moving on to the Super Bowl.

What happened Sunday was anything but that.

After Denver beat San Diego in their home playoff game a few weeks ago, Peyton Manning – on the field – had this to say when asked about the Broncos impending meeting with the Patriots and the inevitable “Manning vs. Brady” storyline.

“It’s the Broncos vs. the Patriots, not me vs. Tom.  These two teams have worked awfully hard to get to this point and we’re looking forward to the challenge of battling the Patriots for the right to go to the Super Bowl.”

He didn’t take any potshots at the Chargers or Philip Rivers or the San Diego defense.

Mariano Rivera wouldn’t have ever acted like Richard Sherman did last Sunday in Seattle.

Rivera was a champion — at all times.

I could go on and on about “winners” in sports history and how the true champions – the icons – the guys like Montana and Rice and Jordan and (Magic) Johnson and Jeter wouldn’t have ever done what Richard Sherman did on national TV.

Those guys all had a microphone stuck in their face too, plenty of times, and never came across as anything but a winner.

Prior to every varsity golf match at Calvert Hall, I gather our twelve players together and one of them leads the team in this prayer:

“Father, we thank you so much for the physical and spiritual health that is necessary to compete this afternoon.  We ask that you provide us with the ability to deal with victory or defeat with equal degrees of humility and respect and we ask you return us and our opponents home safely so we can continue to enjoy the blessings you have bestowed upon us.  Amen.” 

“We ask that you provide us with the ability to deal with victory or defeat with equal degrees of humility and respect…”

That’s my self-assigned task — to make my young man understand that winning happens and losing happens — and you need to learn how to deal with each of those with the same level of humility and respect for the game and the opponent.

Unlike a lot of people across the country, I didn’t rush to judgment about Richard Sherman on Sunday night.  I saw him for what he showed us he was on Sunday night.

He’s a helluva football player, but his behavior after the game wasn’t representative of what you’d see from a true champion.

That’s it.

 

 

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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Tim Says:

    Drew, love your team’s pre-match prayer.

    This is all about building, and then showing, character.

  2. Robert Says:

    Good morning Drew:

    I like that excellent & eloquent pre-match prayer. Was the prayer penned by you or do you know who its author is? Cheers.

    (DF: I authored the prayer.)

  3. The Armchair QB Says:

    Excellent Post, Drew! Unfortunately, that type of behavior is just part of a culture of unsportsmanlike conduct that is pervasive on and off the field in the NFL that obviously has league approval. Just provides a rooting interest for me that I might not otherwise have. So, GO BRONCOS!

  4. Kolo Jezdec Says:

    As the old saw goes, “Losing builds character, winning reveals it.”

    Imagine the different perception America would have of Mr. Sherman if he would have simply said he was thankful his teammate was behind him to catch the tipped ball, shows this victory was a team effort, etc.

    Also, Mr. Sherman may have cost himself some product endorsements…

  5. Joe Says:

    Didn’t Suggs act like this after we beat the Pats last year? Is he a true champion? Although he wasn’t in front of a camera, I remember you said something about it the next day on your show.

  6. unitastoberry Says:

    The guy has a future in the WWE.

  7. BmoreB Says:

    Sherman’s comments were entertaining as far as I’m concerned. It was a great follow up to an extremely entertaining game. I truly hope Ravens fans don’t have a problem with what Sherman had to say as I don’t recall one person blogging or calling talk radio after Sizzle stated that “Big Ben’s soul may belong to God but his ass belongs to me”, a couple of years ago. That was a little over the top but again, entertaining.

  8. justafan Says:

    Actually, it was rather refreshing to see a player being interviewed on National Television saying what he actually felt. In almost every interview of this type you get the same old predictable questions and the same old predictable answers. Sherman may have a career in professional wrestling after his football playing days are over.

  9. lakerboy Says:

    Drew…you eloquently articulated what I’ve been attempting to get my arms around the past several days, regarding Richard Sherman. I’m not a Tom Brady fan but I did like what he said after learning about Sherman’s antics, and that was that the Patriots try to win with dignity, and do not denegrade their opponents in the process. That’s certainly a far cry from Sherman’s post game behavior against the 49ers.

    Somewhere along the way the NFL lost its way concerning civility and player histrionics. The current poor sportsmanship may very well be so inculcated into our present culture that we will never be able to revert back to an era when athletes congratulated one another after a good game. (I know that Sherman indicated he was trying to show good sportmanship after the end zone interception…but isn’t that a tad bit disingenuous after he verbally belittled Crabtree during and AFTER the game?).

    I’m certainly no expert when it comes to drugs, and perhaps someone like Mike Gimbel could really provide some better insight, but Sherman’s post game interview with Erin Andrews looked like a classic example of “roid rage”. I almost anticipated seeing Roger Goddell pop up from behind Andrews with a plastic jar, then summarily ushering Sherman into the locker room for a post game screening session.

    The worst part of Sherman’s behavior is, that without adequate parental oversight, impressionable kids will think Sherman’s behavior is okay. It’s not, and it should be abhorrent to anyone who appreciates good and honest competition.

    (DF: The “choke sign” and the attempt at “congratulating” Crabtree when the game wasn’t yet complete told you everything about Sherman’s “intent” in the final minutes of that game. He wasn’t being sincere, of course, when he went up to Crabtree after the interception. He was rubbing it in, which IS something that professional athletes are certainly within their rights to do…but it’s NOT something I will be teaching my son and it’s certainly NOT something I would tolerate as a high school coach. If any of my players at Calvert Hall make the “choke sign” to another competitor, he will earn himself a seat on the bench for the next match. Then again, that wouldn’t happen at CHC, because I’ve told them all that from day one.)

  10. Jason Manelli Says:

    And if the Seahawks beat Denver, will he be a champion then? You bet he will. Dude is a cornerback who just sealed a win with a great play. It was an emotional moment, and he was completely unscripted. Thug has become a racially loaded code word, a dog whistle that many ravens fans have heard outsiders blow about our beloved ‘thugs’ like #52, #20, #21 especially back in the day. I reject it completely. I also reject Drew’s characterization of him as ‘not a winner’. Sorry Drew, winners can act lot’s of different ways, and football isn’t golf! It’s not a tea party, it’s not a sport played by rich white people at country clubs, and I hope the game is never neutered to the point where every player has to act like a PR person.

    (DF: Well, like I wrote, Montana, Rice, Jeter, Magic, Maddux, etc…they were ALL champions, they didn’t play “golf”, they played football, baseball and basketball…and none of them EVER behaved like that after a win. And by the way, I’m white and I play golf, but I’m neither rich nor do I belong to a country club. Other than that “racial sterotype” you just threw out there, everything else you wrote is an opinion you’re entitled to author. That said, I don’t believe a “champion” reacts after a victory the way Sherman did on Sunday. You don’t have to agree with that…)

  11. Jason Manelli Says:

    Ok, but you can’t argue because some champions act like these players, the only way to be a champ is to act like those players. Sports Illustrated’s Athlete of the Century was not the quiet, retiring type. Our own Ray Lewis is a Champion through and through, and the whole world saw and heard him celebrate in a way that alienated some, energized others, and probably left most of us just saying, ‘huh?’. Hell, Lance Armstrong was as polite as pie when he was giving all those interviews after winning all those tours… No offense intended on the golf comment, I just picture the difference between the crowd at Congressional for Tiger’s tourney and the crowd at M&T and feel like that’s an extension of the overall culture of both sports. One has is rooted in a staid atmosphere, the other in a raucous one. God bless America that we have room for both.

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