Sherman Being Upfront Seen As a Setback For African-American Cultural Acceptance?

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) addresses the media after the 2013 NFC Championship football game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

There are those that have seen or heard of the short and candid interview Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave to Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews after the team’s win to send the Hawks to Super Bowl XLVIII (48).

Then, there are those who may not have access to a television or internet.

After Sherman’s tip of a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was subsequently intercepted by Seattle’s Malcolm Davis, the leader of the “Legion of Boom” provided us with, what is the early leader in the clubhouse for the sports soundbyte of 2014 when he exclaimed…

“Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like [Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get!”

To say the least, Sherman was not exactly the dry and corporate Peyton Manning in that moment. If anything, it made Sherman more relatable among football fans.

There is an obvious double-standard that we apply to athletes. When they speak to the media, their answers can sound canned and insincere at times, and we long for one interview where a player, after a tough game, lets us know how he really feels.

Then, Sherman delivers just that, and he’s lambasted in the sporting press for “lack of sportsmanship”. If Sherman was such a bad sport, then why did he tweet his best wishes to San Francisco’s Navorro Bowman, who injured his knee and had to be carted off the field after a fumble recovery earlier in the game?

Immediately after that interview, Sherman via his Twitter was met with an avalanche of angry tweets saying that he was a bad sport. Some even got uglier than that as others pelted racial epithets in his direction.

It’s the part of the debate that, for some reason, is getting more attention than just what it is at face value. Some actually believe that Sherman’s interview with Erin Andrews set back African-Americans in being culturally accepted in mainstream America.

Huh? Come Again?

Last time I checked, Sherman contributed to an interception of a pass to send his team to the Super Bowl, then gave an impassioned interview because he was excited for himself, his team, and his city.

Sherman did not kill anybody, ala Aaron Hernandez. He didn’t attack a police officer at an airport, ala Davone Bess. He wasn’t caught doing 110 miles per hour in a 70 zone ala Yasiel Puig.

People that are giving Sherman grief about how he supposedly set back African Americans 2,014 years either do not understand African American culture—or they have simply never played sports at a competitive level.

If Sherman set back African Americans, then why will tens of millions around the country (and even moreso around the world) tune in to their TVs and radios to watch and listen to the Super Bowl? Did we all of a sudden forget that the NFL is 75% African-American? Did we all of a sudden forget that the NBA is 80% black? Both sports seem to be doing very well, last time I checked.

According to those regurgitating this drivel, one raw interview with a Fox Sports reporter sets back African Americans from being accepted in mainstream culture. One raw interview cancels out the fact that Sherman grew up in Compton and still graduated from Stanford with a 4.2 GPA. One raw interview with a Fox Sports reporter cancels out the fact that he graduated with a degree (in communications, of all things) and is working on earning his master’s degree.

Meaning, it is likely that Sherman will be working as an analyst when he hangs up his cleats in 15 years in the same media that is giving him grief over one raw interview with Erin Andrews.

If graduating summa cum laude from the institution of higher learning that is referred to as “Harvard West” is setting back African Americans, then blacks shouldn’t want to go forward.

Why was that interview so “raw” and “real”? Because there was nothing different between Sherman’s response to Andrews and what a typical response would be after a defender made a major stop with a game on the line TWO SECONDS after said defender made a big play. There’s a reason why, outside of NFL Films, players are not miked up during the games. If they were miked up during the games, the person in the television production truck would have his finger on the dump button so much, that finger would deserve a raise.

If a reporter could stick a microphone in Deion Sanders’ face literally ten seconds after he converted on a Pick 6, Primetime’s response would be similar (if not exactly the same) as what Sherman exclaimed to Erin Andrews.

It wasn’t Richard Sherman who set back African Americans—if anything, he set them forward (again, summa cum laude in communications from Stanford).

The overreaction to his remarks on Fox is what set back sports journalism.

Topics: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks

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  • Monzell Lamar Lewis

    Fox shouldn’t have the contract they are worst network out there plus there beliefs are backwards this is 2014. Nobody needs approval from someone who. Know nothing about sports they just pimping sports for ez money

    • Tim Kelly

      Fox as a full company, largely Fox News, does have their beliefs backwards. I didn’t think Fox as a channel did a bad job of covering the game, but I can’t tell you what Fox News said, because I don’t watch it because I don’t believe in racism or being a republican.

  • russbutton

    I suggest that the author walk into his boss’s office and start yelling at him him about how he’s the BEST Sports Writer in the country and don’t he DARE send him on any fool assignments. WHAT!?!

    And let’s see how long he keeps his job.

    Behavior and language like that are standard and appropriate in places like Compton, or East Oakland. But don’t ever think that’s going to be accepted anywhere else. That may just sound like standard competitiveness in your community, but to the rest of America, Richard Sherman just sounded like a thug.

    To the public, appearances are reality.

    • kstreetdawg

      Yeah, because Michael Crabtree is Richard Sherman’s boss. If my boss told me that I was inferior, then I single-handedly was the cause of a multi-million dollar success for my company, I’d tell him you also have a boss and I’m sure he wants me more than you. So your analogy is crap.

      Now tell me what language did Sherman use that was “appropriate in place like Compton”? America’s racist are ridiculous. Stop procreating because you are ruining our future.

      But I won’t stop there. You should kill your children and commit suicide. The world will be a better place.

      Now, that last statement was “classless”. Richard Sherman is not “classless”, but I personally still don’t care if you and your family dies. I’d shrug and say one less racist in this world. Maybe more if your family is large. That would bring an even better smile to my face.

      • russbutton

        Charming. You demonstrate my point so very well.

        This issue isn’t race. It’s culture. It really is. What’s appropriate in one culture just isn’t in another. Roid rage screaming and chest beating is nothing unusual in one culture, but just isn’t acceptable in most others. You can’t behave like that in any professional situation and stay employed.

        • chase lawhead

          Hmmmm… If there’s a problem why is Richard Sherman’s Jersey top 10 in sales? After the interview. It’s amazing all the hate Sherman is getting and the ones doing the hating don’t want to admit it’s all just jealousy over not having a player as talented and passionate on the field as Sherman.

          • russbutton

            There are plenty who also admire people like Miley Cyrus, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and even GW Bush… And then there’s the legion of admirers for those of questionable talent like Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears. Just because someone has a lot of admirers doesn’t mean the rest of us are jealous.

          • chase lawhead

            Then why spend so much time talking about him? Do you go on message boards for talentless ‘Hollywood stars’ and talk trash about Kim Kardashian in your spare time?

      • Tim Kelly

        Your first two paragraphs made sense, and then you killed your whole case with the rest, even if it wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

    • http://section215.com/ Tim Kelly

      Well considering I’m the boss, and I okay-ed this article and thought it demonstrated a very good point, Akiem is in no danger of “losing his job”, like you suggest.

      I’m not sure what language he used to be honest with you. He didn’t curse, he was just loud. Everything he said was right as well. I’m not denying that it is inappropriate, but the idea that we are criminalizing someone who made it out of Compton as the valedictorian of his high school, graduated Stanford with a 4.2 GPA, became the NFL’s best cornerback, and is still working on getting his masters, is laughable.

      To the lazy portion of the public, appearances are reality. To the smart portion of the world, who does research and has background knowledge before commenting on a situation, appearances are only part of the sample.

    • Tim Kelly

      Well considering I’m the boss, and I okay-ed this article and thought it demonstrated a very good point, Akiem is in no danger of “losing his job”, like you suggest.

      I’m not sure what language he used to be honest with you. He didn’t curse, he was just loud. Everything he said was right as well. I’m not denying that it is inappropriate, but the idea that we are criminalizing someone who made it out of Compton as the valedictorian of his high school, graduated Stanford with a 4.2 GPA, became the NFL’s best cornerback, and is still working on getting his masters, is laughable.

      To the lazy portion of the public, appearances are reality. To the smart portion of the world, who does research and has background knowledge before commenting on a situation, appearances are only part of the sample.

      • russbutton

        Tim, I wasn’t suggesting that Akiem was about to lose his job. But were anyone to come into your office screaming in a roid rage whenever they had a conflict with you, or for that matter, did that with their co-workers, that person wouldn’t stay employed long. Race has nothing to do with this. It’s all about culture.

        You talk about the “lazy portion of the public”. For the past 30 years the public’s attention span has gotten ever more short. Everything is snap judgments. Regardless of his accomplishments, the first impression Richard Sherman has given most of the world is his screaming fit on camera. First impressions are the ones that are the hardest to change. Whether or not he’s a thug, that’s what the world has seen.

        When he’s done with football, maybe he can run for governor of Minnesota.

        • Tim Kelly

          Yeah that is true in a lot of senses. At the same time, it is unrelatable to this situation because Akiem’s job is to voice his opinions regardless of whether they are popular or not. Sherman is able to do the same thing because of his production. In a real workplace that might be applicable, but Sherman isn’t repalceable at least in this point in his career, so he won’t be replaced. If the Seahawks cut him, 31 other teams would be on the phone trying to sign him.

          It’s similar to how Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) and T.O. were put up with in their years of production. At the same time, it burned them later in their career when they still belonged on NFL rosters, but teams stayed away from them because they didn’t think the production would be worth the drama.

          • Russ Button

            Then you and I are largely in agreement.

            Circling back to the title of Akiem’s article, is he suggesting that this kind of behavior – roid rage screaming, dis-respect for an opponent and/or boasting – is a standard part of African-Americian culture? If so, then that aspect of African-American culture will never be accepted by society at large.

            It’s OK for pro-athletes because they are rare talents, but as soon as those talents fade, pro-sports (and society) tosses them aside as used trash.

            And that’s what I’ve been trying to say all along. This isn’t a racial conflict so much as a cultural one. It should only be seen as racial if you wish to identify this behavior as being intrinsic to being African-American.

            Anger is of very limited value. What seems empowering is only self-destructive in the end. Yes you can use it for protection, but it stays with you and leads you into a PTSD cycle of anger, aggression and fear, when what we really need in this world is more love.

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