I rarely see a postgame interview. It’s become a running joke in our household, but it’s true: Almost immediately after a game ends, I spring off the couch and take the dog for a walk.
So I came to the Richard Sherman interview many hours after it actually happened — after countless people had expressed opinions about it, calling Sherman all sorts of things. I had seen Sherman’s game-saving play Sunday for Seattle and his in-game antics thereafter. Then I watched the interview, fearing the worst … and kept looking for more. That couldn’t be all it was, right?
Apparently it was.
Joe Namath guarantees a Super Bowl victory — thereby theoretically disrespecting every single player on the Colts — and he is remembered as a swashbuckling hero.
Sherman talks trash and calls out Michael Crabtree after the cornerback actually accomplishes something and he’s a villain? Sorry, but he didn’t really do anything wrong.
Is this discussion racially charged? No doubt. Plenty of people looked at their TV screens, saw an angry black man and made a judgment. An unfortunate cross-section — a distinct minority, but living, breathing people — went on Twitter and used the worst racial slurs to describe Sherman.
Is Sherman brash? No doubt. Is he a jerk? That’s more a matter of taste, but we can at least listen to that conversation. Should he have to defend himself for what he said? Not at all. But Sherman did attempt to explain it anyway, and he did more than fine. Writing for SI.com’s Monday morning quarterback, he said:
“A lot of what I said to [Erin] Andrews was adrenaline talking, and some of that was Crabtree. I just don’t like him. It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am.”
You stick a microphone in front of a player after he has played a brutally physical game and helped his team defeat a rival to get to the Super Bowl … and you want what? Composure? Grace? You might get that, and in a lot of cases it will be dishonest.
I hold good sportsmanship in high esteem, and still: Give me Sherman’s reaction any day. Like 99.9 percent of us, I have no idea what it feels like to play such a vicious game at the highest level. All I know is what I see on TV, and it looks brutal.
Sherman articulated what the NFL is: a trash-talking, me vs. you, emotional fight to the finish. If hearing it instead of just seeing it makes you uncomfortable, that’s your problem and not his.