Monday, January 20, 2014

Supporter Contribution - Anyone Calling Richard Sherman A Thug Should Just Stop

For those of you who need a recap, the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night in the NFC Championship game. It came down to the final possession, which was probably what most people expected. The 49ers trailed 17-23 with under a minute to play and were driving down the field with ease. They were in Seahawk territory and certainly looked poised to score a go-ahead touchdown that would have most likely won them the game. Then, Richard Sherman happened.

Everyone knows Richard Sherman by now. He’s the loud-mouthed cornerback who once told Skip Bayless that he was "better than him at life.” He’s also the cornerback who happened to make the biggest play of the game, arguably the biggest play of year. He deflected a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone, which was then intercepted by Seahawk teammate Malcolm Smith. The 49ers only had two timeouts left so it sealed the game for Seattle, sending them to the Super Bowl to face the Denver Broncos. The aftermath of the game is when things got interesting.

Immediately after the game, Fox’s Erin Andrews caught up with Richard Sherman in what was personally one of my favorite post-game interviews of all time. These interviews are typically boring where the player thanks God and his teammates and talks about how blessed he is and how it was a total team effort; but not this time.

Like I said, Richard Sherman is a loud mouth, we all know that.  That’s probably an understatement. I liked this interview because it was pure, raw emotion. I get it, he didn’t answer the question and came off as loud and belligerent. In his defense (no pun intended), he had just made the play of the game and really, the play of the year. It was the difference between the Seahawks going home or going to the Super Bowl. The latter happened because of Richard Sherman. Excuse him for being excited and expressing how he felt. Clearly, Michael Crabtree had said something either before the game or after the game that ticked him off and he just wanted to make it known.

Sure, Richard Sherman is not the classiest or the most humble athlete in the world, but the guy can flat out play football. There’s no denying his talent. I don’t know if he’s the best cornerback in the league, but based solely on his stats the past two years, it’d be hard to argue against his claim. I’d say it’s between him, Patrick Peterson, Joe Haden, and a healthy Darrelle Revis, but that’s an argument for another day. Hate Sherman all you want, but he talks the talk and walks the walk. DO NOT, however, even think for a second about calling him a thug.

I’ve seen countless posts on Twitter and other forms of social media where people are calling Richard Sherman a thug. People are saying they hate the Seahawks because of him and that he represents all the “thug Seahawks;” that he embodies everything that is wrong with the NFL. Seriously? A guy who graduated second in his class in high school and also graduated with a degree in Communications from STANFORD UNIVERSITY is a thug?  Maybe you’ve heard of Stanford? It’s a little learning institution in the Bay Area. Sure, he got there on a football scholarship but he still graduated. I believe he even enrolled after he was drafted by the Seahawks to get his Masters, so people need to stop labeling him a thug. You have to be pretty smart to graduate from Stanford.

Is Richard Sherman out in the streets dealing drugs? No, last time I checked he was playing football for the best secondary in the league. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Seahawks fan but I respect what they do on the field. A thug deals drugs and engages in other illegal, “thug-related” activities. Richard Sherman is locking down opposing receivers on the gridiron every Sunday. He’s a punk for sure but I respect his game. I don’t know if people were referring to the interview after the game or him as a person in their accusations of him being a thug, but neither hold true.

Sure, he trash talks all day, every day, but that’s who he is. It helps his game. He needs it to fuel himself and without it, he doesn’t play well. I’m serious. I read that in high school, he trash talked so much that his coach made him stop for a game and the first half of that game was by far the worst he’s ever played. At halftime, his coach decided that was stupid and just let him get back to being himself. Pete Carroll probably feels the same way.

Have you ever played in a pick-up basketball game where someone on the opposing team is running their mouth the entire game? I’m sure you have because we all have. It pisses you the off. It pisses me off even more so when that person is playing well or just better than me as a basketball player. It’s a mental thing and it can really get to your head. It messes with my game sometimes and I honestly don’t play as well. Well that person is Richard Sherman. He’s extremely talented and lets opposing teams know it. The guy knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing it his whole life. He’s way smarter than people realize, yet because you see glimpses of him being a cocky asshole (which is actually all the time), people assume he’s a thug. It’s just not true.

Call me crazy, but I really think it has to do with a small bit of racism. Because he’s cocky and black, he automatically gets labeled a thug for acting out. People never call white players thugs. Tom Brady would never get labeled a thug but I see him out there talking shit all the time and he looks pretty cocky doing it. He’s always fired up and although he’s not labeling himself the best in postgame interviews, he’s probably thinking it. The comparison is not as far-fetched as you might think.

Anyway, my point is, people need to stop labeling Richard Sherman a thug. He’s far from that. He’s smarter than we know and his cockiness is what helps him be so great. His Twitter profile says something about “earning the respect you’re given.” He’s earned my respect and other people should respect him too. Plus, he’s about to be a Super Bowl champion so he has the right to say whatever the hell he wants.

--Eddie Thy

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