By: Dan Hasty
DISCLAIMER: If you loved Deion Sanders, and hated what you heard yesterday from Richard Sherman, don’t read this blog. There’s no convincing you.
When I first saw the postgame remarks of Richard Sherman, I thought “When your play speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” 24 hours later, I laugh when I read the so-called “outrage” over these comments. We used to embrace this type of athlete. How did we get here?
First off, an executive decision was made to interview the league’s most outspoken player pumped full of adrenaline, minutes after winning a conference title in front of the best crowd in professional sports. If you weren’t looking for raw emotion, talk to someone else. Never once did this four-year graduate of Stanford University (not to mention one holding a degree in COMMUNICATIONS) use profanity, or make a derogatory statement, unless you count “sorry” or “mediocre” as inflammatory. To me, that’s as impressive as his play.
Let’s not act like this never happens. Richard Sherman said exactly what every Defensive Back says to the Receiver across from him every Sunday. He said it to Michael Crabtree, then said the same to a TV camera. If you’ve ever watched NFL Films, or listened to a segment of a player wearing a microphone, you want to know what’s being said. Richard Sherman gave you that gift.
Whenever we see players get a penalty for “Excessive Celebration,” or “Taunting,” we’ll call the NFL the “No Fun League”. When a player says something like “I’m just taking things day-by-day,” or “We just have to take it one game at a time,” we demand for more personality in our game. We wish we were listening to Richard Sherman. Richard Sherman is now a household name. In a sport full of clichés and niceties, we have someone not afraid to be real.
Don’t forget; these are the kinds of comments which create and fuel rivalries. We still don’t know exactly what Michael Crabtree might have said yesterday, or during the past to elicit that type of response. Even though it’s Sherman, it’s hard to believe that reaction came out of nowhere. Lucky for us, these two teams play twice a year being in the same division. If you don’t think you’ll be keeping a close eye on the matchup between Crabtree and Sherman when that game happens, you’re kidding yourself.
Many of our greatest sports heroes; people who are revered for their accomplishments, built their reputations on being obnoxious and arrogant. Deion Sanders was exactly this way. Around here, the Fab Five were incredibly cocky. They claimed that schools like Duke wouldn’t recruit them because of their race, and they’re still held in a higher regard than a 2000 Michigan State team that won a National Title. There’s also Muhammad Ali: King of Smack.
I wish every team had a Richard Sherman, and if you’re honest with yourself, so do you. Go ahead and hate what he said, but respect his decision to say it.