After his team won the NFC Championship game, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman became the most hated man in the NFL, if he had not already earned himself that title. He was extremely candid and emotional in his postgame interview, bashing San Francisco 49ers player Michael Crabtree and parading around like a maniac.
The sports world ignited soon after, with fans and pundits alike speaking their minds on the subject. Most argued that Sherman’s actions were unsportsmanlike, classless and childish. I even ran across a few Seahawks fans who blasted the leader of the Legion of Boom. The hatred for Sherman grew by the second. I do not think I have seen anyone catch so much heat since Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder.
I found myself disagreeing with the public’s harsh opinions about Sherman’s postgame tirade. People were calling for this man to be fined and released, which would be excessive punishment for a player who just felt the need to speak his mind.
Was he a little over the top with his words and actions? Yes, but he was not wrong for speaking up about it. Us fans cannot understand how much emotion comes into play when NFL players are up against a division rival in a high-stakes game that sends their team to the Super Bowl. Sherman did not spit in anyone’s face or talk about their family. He simply lashed out with a personal attack on Crabtree, which is fair game in my opinion.
I do not know how fans expected Sherman to react, but I am surprised that everyone is seemingly shocked about what he had to say. Erin Andrews stood by holding the microphone that Sherman used to spew his hatred for Crabtree. She looked scared, making the situation all the more weird and blown out of proportion. Still, Andrews deserves a nod for her professionalism during Sherman’s rant.
Sherman earned my respect with his honesty. Everyone can throw him under the bus, but I understand his frustration and intensity. What I do not understand is why everyone takes issue with a player who has the guts to deliver such heartfelt and truthful words, even if they did rattle every cage in the zoo.
I would rather deal with a player who will give me a glimpse into their true feelings and thoughts rather than someone who hides behind emotionally unattached responses. It is as if NFL players have a script that they are forced to read from week after week, and when a player decides to throw that script away, everything breaks loose.
To me, it was not a matter of him showing a lack of professionalism or class. This is football — since when did class determine who should be loved and hated? It is all about winning, and Sherman is a proven winner. The NFL is a league of gladiators, not a league of class and etiquette.
Sherman will hear more negative things said about him over the next few weeks than he has ever heard in his life. You may think the negativity will put Sherman in his place, but in reality, it will just show that we live in a world that prefers its sports stars to lie rather than act like genuine, emotional people.
I stand by Sherman’s reactions. I was not rooting for the Seahawks to defeat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, but now that the world has wrongfully taken a stand against Sherman, I truly hope he leads his team to the promised land in spite of all the haters out there.