Sherman’s wild march to the frozen Super Bowl
I will be the first to admit that I am not a big NFL fan. Mostly, that’s because I work the Statesman Sunday Sabbath and don’t see many games. But I have always been a Seattle Seahawks’ fan and I’ve been a fan of a couple of the team’s key players—quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman. Yes, Pete and the boys have put together a juggernaut full of interesting characters. I know. Talk about disparate personalities—at least on the surface. Wilson, the second year quarterback from Wisconsin, is the quintessential team spokesman. Gracious, classy and always upbeat. Nary a discouraging word comes from the mouth of a man that is very easy to admire and respect.Then we have General Sherman’s slow burn march to the Super Bowl Sea (of detractors). It’s cornerback Richard Sherman unplugged. Forget the heavy mettle. I feel sorry for the mental deficient’s who railed against Sherman on social media after the loquacious, supremely self-confident and self-ascribed spokesman of the best secondary in the NFL went off after Seattle held on to beat rival San Francisco and qualify for Sunday’s Super Bowl in the deep freeze of New Jersey against Denver.(Editor’s note: There is also some irony to the fact that Denver and Seattle come from the two states that have legalized marijuana.)I thought Sherman’s rant was hilarious. Simple as that for those who lack perspective to go with their considerable Twitter invective.It reminded me of my all-time favorite professional athlete, Cassius (Ali) Clay, who was always boasting about some poor opponent he was about to annihilate. And most of the time, he did—with considerable élan and good humor along the way.If you can walk the walk after talking the talk…Yes, Ali was the greatest—in and out of the ring.I have always preferred the interesting athletes who were (and are) eminently quotable to go with notable and quotable. In the pantheon of prominent, Sherman isn’t there, but like Ali, he is one interesting professional athlete. For the record, Charles Barkley is also on my very short list of interesting and entertaining jocks to listen to. Sherman, who was tested at corner only twice against the 49ers, offered a classic post-game sound byte diatribe in the general direction of Fox Sports’ sideline reporter Erin Andrews:“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 gonna get. Don’t ever talk about me!”But there’s more…“Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”Okay, so those two have a little history. For the non-sports fan that wouldn’t be reading this anyway, Sherman had just made a game-saving deflection of a pass headed for Crabtree in the end zone that turned into a game-ending Seattle interception. Come on bro. I’m sure there has been a time or two when you too have fantasized about talking to a hottie like Erin Andrews and verbally filleting someone who you think just dissed you. No filter—no kidding. From my perspective, that’s easily the best interview. No politically expedient, disingenuous blather from somebody who is trying to be yours and everyone else’s best buddy by saying “the right thing” and laying on the brush strokes of bogus humility.Screw the right thing. Just say the honest thing for a change. Thank you, Mr. Sherman.Just remember: When you actually tell the truth, you don’t have to keep all those stories straight, do you? Sorry, perception isn’t the truth.Sorry, but Richard Sherman is not the next coming of Terrell Owens. No, I am not going to lay out a Cliff’s Notes on TO.I feel sorry for the dimwits who bombed Twitter after the game with all manner of vitriolic babble. The fallout from Sherman’s rant was, in part, understandable. But the racist garbage wasn’t.So, where on Twitter was the Clan meeting?Sure, Sherman’s rant was over the top and unnecessary. But this is football. The last time I looked, the NFL wasn’t golf. It’s a brutal game where players get amped up and need some serious self-confidence to compete effectively. Testosterone and cornerbacks on an island meet Cover 2, the Nickel Back and a television mic seconds after your team pulls out a wild one with a heated rival to get to the Super Bowl. Erin, I’m pretty sure you’re happy Richard Sherman didn’t have time to compose himself and better articulate what it all meant in a 20 second sound byte. It was much to do about very little. I was more interested in the aftermath of Seattle tailback Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch’s 40-yard touchdown run. His teammates met Lynch in the end zone…wanted him to spike the ball. What did Lynch do? He proceeded to shake hands with every teammate he could find and then hand the ball back to the referee.To me, that was a moment. No histrionics. No choke sign aimed at a defender…no chest thumping…and no celebration. We still have business to take care of. That was my favorite moment…yes, besides the Richard Sherman deflection. Why no Twitter blow up on that? Let’s consider Richard Sherman for his body of work. I can overlook the blather about the cock-sure “I’m the best cornerback in the NFL.” To be sure, he’s one of them.And yes, Richard, on the other throw in your direction, my 90-year-old father-in-law who can’t see past his cell phone, could have made that pass interference call. It was PI, bro. You were so draped all over the backside of that receiver that the least you could have done was pull his hair. At any rate, like I said, let’s consider the full body of work before throwing stones and slurs at a Stanford man. By all accounts, Richard Sherman is mostly a class act and a very bright, articulate human being who makes a brutal sport a whole lot more interesting and entertaining, in my mind. I’m willing to bet that Richard Sherman is one of the NFL’s most solid, articulate citizens—on and off the field. Richard Sherman is nothing but a punk and a thug, you say? That’s like trying to convince me that the Seahawks’ well-chronicled “12th Man” doesn’t really give Seattle a home field advantage.