Keeping you in the know about all things sports, here on ESPN Sports Radio 1300's WLXG.com
Shermanating the Sherman Haters
by Ben Tompkins,posted Jan 21 2014 10:20PM
Last night, my brother and I were having a conversation about how we both felt about Richard Sherman’s post-game interview. He didn’t mind it and neither did I and we shared our insights with each other. I had a couple of takeaways that I wanted to add some perspective on, so turn that thing down while I issue my statement:
Now, if you know me, you know I’m a gentlemen that likes to place wagers (stand by for Benny’s Picks next college football season). But with that being said, I’d be willing to bet my portfolio that the people saying the most extreme things on social media had no prior knowledge of Sherman’s background to seeing that interview. Some didn’t even know who he was. Let’s just hope Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberts wasn’t watching, A&E can’t afford to take another public relations napalm strike.
So for the racists and uneducated, pay attention and at least try to sound knowledgeable as you take shots a man that you label as a thug. You tag Richard Sherman as what you believe to be a thug based on common stereotypes and misperceptions and lack of education. You see a man that is accomplishing things that you’ll never be able to and you despise him for it.
But I guess that’s just the motion, right? Sherman expresses the confidence he holds in himself as an individual, and people slap him down for it? We preach to the youth to pursue their goals -- chase the American Dream, be successful -- and work harder than anyone else to achieve them, but once they’ve hit a certain status, envy causes us to lash out and attempt to discredit their achievements.
It’s ironic really; those of you that are trying to defend your conviction and brand Sherman as a “hoodrat” are nowhere near his level of intelligence -- and U.O.E.N.O.
Let’s start with the fact that at his high school, Dominguez High School in Compton, California, in addition to being an all-star athlete in two sports (football and track), Sherman earned a 4.2 GPA and graduated second in his class, per Ty Schalter, an NFL national lead writer for Bleacherreport.com.
Or how about the fact as Tweeted by Scott Enyeart, a former USC/Pac-12 football reporter and host of the Seahawks 12th man podcast for Sports Radio KJR 950am in Seattle, Sherman scored a 1400/1600 on his SAT and held a 3.9 GPA while starring as a D-1 athlete in college?
But never mind the fact that it was Stanford, or the fact that as Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead reported, Sherman has started and is actively pursuing his Master’s degree in communications, or that he’s a regular contributor for Peter King’s Sports Illustrated website, the Monday Morning Quarterback.
No no no people. Let’s speak from timeless prejudices and judge a book by its cover. Let’s allow our deepest insecurities to surface and speak based on fear and ignorance. Let’s see who can look the most clueless or get ignored the most on Twitter by Sherman, and paid attention to the most by Deadspin.
Beyond the external feature barrier, let’s examine your argument at the individual level that people shouldn’t run their mouth and be disrespectful.
You can’t say you’re the best.
Why the hell not?
Would we condemn Steve Jobs if he had said he was the best innovator of technology? What if Warren Buffett was to say, “I’m a financial guru,” would we be upset? Or although it would be unlike his personality, if Peyton Manning said, “yeah, I am the best quarterback in the league,” would people argue?
I’ll never understand why some people raise an issue when a top performer in their field or industry tells others to take notes. Sherman’s stats make his bite equally as lethal as his bark. He’s got the numbers to justify his self-established role as the “best cornerback in the league.” And as Michael Smith and Jemele Hill would say, numbers never lie.
Sherman was targeted only 58 times during this past regular season. With his league leading eight interceptions, Sherman’s 13.8 percent interception rate was 4.4 percent better than the second best (Logan Ryan, 9.40 percent), according to Michael Salfino, a sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His eight interceptions also tied his 2012 campaign, a season in which he was target 28 additional times.
Come on people, enough is enough. When a guy walks into the league and earns first team all-pro twice in his first three seasons, ties for second most interceptions in his second year and is leading the league by his junior season, isn’t he justified to speak similarly to Jerry Maguire’s animated client, Rod Tidwell?
But people want him to adhere to how they think he should act. Richard Sherman’s response didn’t fit the criteria of people that hold others to unrealistic or racially coded standards. Conservative patriarch guy thinks he’s a disgrace to the game and pom-pom waving Michael Crabtree fans wish harm upon him.
To the anti-Sherman demographic, what you’re telling me is that if you’re in Sherman’s cleats and you make the biggest play of the game, in the biggest game the season has yielded, in an emotional rivalry with a history of animosity between you and your opponent, and you get a microphone shoved in your face 30 seconds after the passionate win while sound record setting cheers from your 12th man swirl around you, that you’re going to be calm and collected?
That’s what happens when you feed a hot mic to a young, testosterone driven male immediately following an intense, defining moment that landed his team in the Super Bowl. What can you possibly expect?
That’s the dialogue he’s supposed to be having with a teammate that runs up to congratulate him, or a coach that attempts to celebrate with his players. When he can’t even catch his breath and he’s already having reporters burst his bubble, what do you want from the guy? He’s going to be amped up. If you stick your hand in the flame, you’re going to get burned.
The other thing you have to realize is that talking is what fuels Sherman’s fire.
David Shaw, head coach at Stanford University, acknowledges the fact that Sherman likes to chirp and that’s just how he’s wired. He’s a semi-frequent guest on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and Monday, January 20, Colin used a soundbite of a previous interview with Shaw while discussing the type of player Sherman is.
“He is the most competitive human being you’ll find,” Shaw said. “He is ultra competitive, he pushes himself extremely hard, he expects the world from himself — and part of that is his talking. Talking keeps him at the top of his game.”
I enjoy directing attention to narratives that aren’t being told or are sometimes swept under the rug. I believe in transcending and progressing through outdated stereotypes and pumping the breaks when a bunch of Twidiots spout their hate Tweets. As for Richard Sherman, he believes in judging a man by all of his actions, not just some.
“To those who could call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines,” Sherman wrote in Monday’s column on MMQB.si.com. “Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
The Bulldogs gave the Cardinals all they could handle but Scott County swept Dunbar in this regular season finale doubleheader. Also, on this night a bit of history. With the Scott County Boys victory, coach Billy Hicks offically become the winningest coach all time in high school basketball with win number 857. Congrats to coach Hicks!