Well, it took the span of five days, but it somehow went from everybody bashing Richard Sherman to everybody bashing everybody bashing Richard Sherman.  Now the cool thing seems to be to make it about race, and how anyone who doesn’t like Richard Sherman to make it about race.

I know he got called every racial slur in the book, and I agree: there’s no justification.  And there’s no “We” in it.  Those racist assholes are making those of us who genuinely don’t like the guy look bad…and I’m more than a little tired of it.

Did I use the word thug?  Yes.  I also use the word thug quite a bit (like many others, including Sherman himself) to describe hockey players…which as far as I can tell, has as little to do with African-American stereotypes as much as it does Canadian-American stereotypes.  I grew up with it being used as much by movies set in the 1930’s about the tough guys who were enforcers for the mob and by mid-1990’s hip-hop music which more or less used it as something to be admired.  I even have laughed at it being used in a meme which more or less mocks non-black people.

I’m more than a little insulted that now I’m being called a racist by, well, everybody.  Everybody.

I don’t dislike Sherman because specifically of last Sunday’s game.  I don’t dislike him, as so many writers have accused the generality of white America, because he’s black and angry.  Liking someone for being sportsmanlike, or disliking someone for not being good sportsmen is not a race-based decision for me.  I dislike Bill Romonowski, Byrce Harper and Kevin Greene.  I admire Willie Mays and Willie McCovey and Jackie Robinson.  It’s not about race, it’s about how they carry themselves.

Why don’t I like Sherman?  I don’t like him because of the first three years of his NFL career, and the way he has acted during them.

He is a physically talented cornerback, I grant him that.  He’s also a loudmouth and a hypocrite.  And he’s never been more of a hypocrite this week.

Look, his post-game rant was embarrassing, and everyone knows it.  And yeah, he was hyped up after making a big play in a big game.  I didn’t like hearing it, I didn’t think it was classy, but it was Richard Sherman.  Then, he started playing the victim for doing his act on national television and getting a national audience.

When you get past the racism aspect, some of things he has said are just absurd, considering his personal history.

He comments on how the comments people made on Twitter were comments that people had time to think about, in comparison to his comments being between the lines of a football field.

Yet, this is a man who has constantly feuded with people publicly on Twitter, using the service to mock and challenge Darrelle Revis.  He even, infamously, used Twitter the day after a game to mock Tom Brady after a game that Sherman’s Seahawks won after a big play by Sherman.  He even posted a photo of himself acting like an asshole using a common internet meme.


He would delete it later, but still…he obviously had time to think about comments on Twitter, and he still attacked people using it.

And that’s not to mention various controversies with taunting Trent Williams (who took a more thuggish route and responded to Sherman by shoving him in the face) and Roddy White.

(He also had a feud with Skip Bayless…but even I have to forgive that one.  Skip Bayless is an out and out asshole as well.)

He’s a player who claims he is the best in the game, playing “Disciplined football, sound football.”  And while he did lead the league in interceptions, he was also the 2nd-most penalized defensive back in football, playing for a team that openly has a secondary that intentionally breaks the rules, knowing the refs won’t call it on the time.  That may be disciplined, but at the same time it’s a way of playing the game that should receive more discipline.  And, he even complained about receiving a penalty last Sunday in the win, complaining about “a BS holding call against me.”

Speaking of discipline, Sherman also got charged with PED usage last year, but won an appeal not because the test didn’t come out positive, but because of mishandling procedures of the cup holding his urine.  While he didn’t get suspended, he was just another player on a team that had five other players suspended for PED violations the last year.  Boy, I wonder what NFL writers will vote for their Hall of Fame votes there?

This is not a guy who plays a clean game, and he certainly has never played a humble game.  And it’s clear that this behavior extends beyond the football lines that Sherman says he doesn’t want to be judged between.

And that’s why the excuse of being overly excited after playing a big game has stopped ringing true to me.  There have been 47 Super Bowl seasons in the NFL, most in a big TV era.  I remember guys being overwhelmed post-game, I remember guys stuttering, I remember guys bragging.  I have never seen someone openly attack another player like that in his bragging.

I might have even forgiven that if he’d been at all humble or regretful or apologetic.  But even his latest interview, which is to air today on CNN, has the weakest sorta apology but not really one I’ve ever heard.  The actual transcript:

“Well, there isn’t much about it that I regret.  Mostly I regret the storm afterwards, the way it was covered, the way it was perceived, and the attention it took away from the fantastic performances of my teammates.  And that’s the only part of it I regret, the way it was covered.  It is what it is, what I said is what I said.  I don’t say, I probably shouldn’t have attacked another person, I don’t mean to attack him, and that was probably immature.  I probably shouldn’t have done that.  I regret doing that.”

Wow.  He regrets how he was taken and that’s all he regrets, and then he kind of comes around to saying he shouldn’t have attacked someone else and finally adds on that regret, like some sort of afterthought.

Seriously, I’ve seen more sincerity out of the cast of The Real World.

In the end, he wants to be the best, and he’s bragged about it constantly.  But he’s not.  The best players have to be the best in all facets of the game, both between the lines and outside of them.

The best players don’t have to taunt.  The best players don’t make choking motions.  The best players don’t use their mouths to talk at all, they let their actions on the field say it all.  And they don’t add subtitles by using interviews for days on days.

I know the guy went to Stanford; that doesn’t clear him of being an asshole.  He got out of Compton, which is admirable, but doesn’t give him an excuse to be a loudmouth.  He can sometimes be intelligent, and he is talented (though I’d love to see him play actual clean football without regularly committing penalties and see how he does).

But if’s he’s going to be a player who talks loud and draws attention to himself, he needs to learn how to take people talking about how he talks.  A week’s worth of hating on how people perceive him isn’t helping his cause.

He shouldn’t be called racist names.  That isn’t right.  But there’s a lot of names Richard Sherman shouldn’t be called.

And one of those names is “The Best.”  No matter how much he whines about people not calling him that.


If you do want to read what I think was the most enlightened take on race and the Sherman controversy, I recommend this piece from Rembert Browne over at Grantland.