Respectability Sports

After shutting down Michael Crabtree on the final play of the NFC championship game Sunday night, Richard Sherman managed to shut down the the internet Sunday night with his now infamous post-game rant. Take a listen to the WWE style declaration he made.


Don’t start nothin, won’t be nothin.

Now as a Miami Hurricanes fan, I may be a little biased because he said nothing that the Canes of the 80s and 90s wouldn’t have said, so I had absolutely no problem with it. Many didn’t share my sentiments and took Twitter, the greatest and worst creation of all time, to voice their disapproval. The most common key words used when describing Sherman were classless, thug and punk.

The first problem I have with all of this is the diction. By definition, thugs are usually violent people that engage in criminal behavior, not a football player who graduated from Stanford with bachelor’s degree in Communications proclaiming he is the best at his position. Pretentious, off-putting  and ostentatious? Yeah, most likely. Thuggish? Not at all. Let’s stop throwing that term around all willy nilly.


An emotional spark plug. Coincidence? I think not.

Secondly, the media enjoys picking and choosing when athletes are acting “classless” and when they are playing with emotion. For example, I saw several sports writers condemning Sherman for calling out a rival that apparently started the beef, but I’ve seen very few chastise or criticize Phillip Rivers for his trash talking to Jay Cutler a while back. Quite the contrary. Sports Illustrated did a piece on how he’s misunderstood, Bleacher Reports said he’s entertaining and Mike Klis of the Denver Post wrote that he was the emotional heart and soul of the team. And before anyone starts saying I’m making this a race case, I’ll point out Muhammad Ali I believe it is. CBS published a piece today on hockey players responding to Sherman’s interview. The general consensus is he would be “handled” for his brash remarks. Anyone that watches hockey, or at least the highlights, knows it’s not unusual for a fight to take place a few times a week. Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander wrote that Sherman would’ve gotten hit with a pitch had he played baseball and no one really questions that unwritten rule. So what I’m getting is that players can make hypothetical threats of violence and no one questions it, but Sherman’s a classless thug for celebrating his own talents. Mmkay.

Finally, the moment in which all of this was said needs to be taken in consideration. He just made a game winning play against a guy he hates to get his team a chance to play in the Super Bowl and then had a mic thrust into his face seconds later. As amped up as he was, he said nothing profane or even remotely offensive. Honestly if you check the stats, he may not have been entirely inaccurate either.

While athletes are here for our personal amusement on the field, we must remember they’re still humans with thoughts and emotions and personalities and I would like to see more players be accepted for who they are instead of being mislabeled because they speak their mind or wear their hats backwards. And that’s just how I’m feeling…