Monday, January 27, 2014

Justify My Thug

Richard Sherman.  Man.


This whole Richard-Sherman THING is amazing on so very many levels.  You have Sherman himself, who is a fascinating individual.  You have the role that sports plays in our society and its importance on greater racial issues.  You have the reaction of people.  You have the meta-reaction that social media always creates with modern stories.  And, also, you know, somewhere in all of this is a football game.  I could write for HOURS on this but I'm going to make this short.  This post has two points:  1) To bring everyone up to speed on the story and 2) To paint, what I think, is the real picture of Richard Sherman.  But first, we must jump.

Most of you were probably first exposed to the story in Sherman's post-game interview.  But, for those of you that weren't, or for those of you that might not remember it so clearly, let me try to repaint the context.  Clear your mind and let's start with the raw facts.  Sherman is a cornerback.  That's a football position that means it's his job to keep a wide receiver from catching a football.  So, when there is a passing play, the quarterback throws the ball to his receiver, who tries to catch it while Sherman keeps him from catching it.  In this particular game, Sherman was playing "man-to-man" coverage, so it's his job to always stay with and stop a particular receiver.  In this case, Michael Crabtree.

And he did.  Really, really well.  Then, this happened.  Watch the whole video for context, but pay close attention to the 50 second mark (this is from the NFL's site, and they are nazis who won't let me embed so it's an external link.)

Sherman runs up to Crabtree, extends his hand, tells him "hell of a game" and gets shoved in the face.  He then, while celebrating runs into the crowd and hugs the fans.  Does he look like a bad sport or a thug so far?  Crabtree seems to be the real jerk here.

Then, he gives this interview.

So, clearly hyped up and upset at Crabtree.  But then, at the end, he does two things: He talks about the Superbowl and he hugs Erin Andrews, the next reporter he's talking to.  Immediately after that hug, this happens (again, external link due to lack of embed ability.)

Andrews asks for a detailed description of the final play and Sherman, instead, essentially repeats his prior interview.  Even after having had a second to talk about something else and to hug Andrews and to generally take a breath.  So, it looks more and more like this isn't just some random rant.  Later, Sherman gives this news conference to address the rant.

That is the sentiment of an articulate, educated, thoughtful individual.  Obviously, a lot different than the screaming heard in those two post game interviews.  Additionally, there is this commercial.

Which seems like a direct reference to the above incident's fall out.  However, this commercial came out the SAME DAY as the game.  Herm.  Coincidence?  What could it mean?  Well, consider this article.

Hot Air: Fox's Joe Buck, Troy Aikman Knew of Richard Sherman's Disdain for Michael Crabtree

All things considered, I think this paints a fairly clear picture of what's going on.  Sherman isn't a thug.  He isn't a jackass.  And, above all else, he isn't stupid.  He and Crabtree don't like each other.  And, after a hard fought game, Crabtree WAS being an asshole and poor sport.  Sherman took that as more fuel to continue to publicize their feud.  This wasn't a random, hot headed interview by some violent "thug."  He was hugging other people before it, during it and after it, he never cursed, he never showed any aggression in it.

This was a calculated move by a graduate of Stanford to promote his image and fire up his team.  Sherman intentionally gave those interviews, knowing full well the controversy and publicity they might cause.  He planned all of this

Hate to break it to you, media, but you've been outsmarted by a "dumb jock."  Sherman was playing with you the whole time.

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