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.