Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The ridiculous backlash against Richard Sherman

The fact that there was so much backlash against Richard Sherman after his epic post-NFC Championship Game-interview rampage against the vanquished Michael Crabtree strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

Obviously, the interview was shocking. Every interview with a frigging sports figure reminds me of the most aggravating thing about Jim Tressel. Saying nothing at all and doing it snidely. The last thing you expect to see in an athlete interview is candor, raw emotion, or screaming about how you just dominated your opponent.

"When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're gonna get." Let's be real--that line is awesome.

You really don't expect to see such amazing interviews, of course, unless you're watching boxing, MMA, or pro wrestling. The best description of what I think happened came in the form of "sports-entertainment" type analogies, such as the following:

And that I think best sums it up. Richard Sherman, by all accounts, is a great cornerback. He is also, by all accounts, a kind, decent, smart dude. Forbes magazine clearly noted that Sherman specifically did not curse, walk off mike, or break eye contact with the camera. Come on, the guy knew what he was doing--and he did it so well he got a solid chunk of America hating him. That's called a heel move, and can make you rich. Sherman pulled off an epic interview, with "professionalism" (in a sense) to boot, and did it expertly. Whether you think it was the time and place for it is another story.

Maybe this would be a better time for it (the first 16 seconds or so):

The sanctimonious reactions to Sherman from some were just idiotic. I could see the knee jerk reaction from some fans being that Sherman (or his actions) were "classless" or "unsportsmanlike", but unfortunately what will be remembered are not only the holier-than-thou sportswriters calling him out, but also the too many racist assholes who took to Twitter immediately to show the dark side of too big a part of this country of ours.

As you can see by the postgame press conference--after Sherman took a shower and let the adrenaline fade a little bit, you can see what kind of interview he is--a superb trash talker and a funny interview subject that I'm sure any sportswriter would love to quote. That's "mediocre"--in case you didn't get it the first time. In the same minute that he thanks both Seattle and San Fran fans, and calls his own fans "a-holes" for throwing things at an injured opponent.

My favorite reaction is any--ANY--Browns fan or writer who could possibly criticize Sherman. The freaking Browns sell officially NFL-licenced merchandise and name sections of the stadium in homage of a couple of trash talking cornerbacks. And those cornerbacks are revered to this day in Cleveland.

Some final thoughts. 

Using trash talk to get an advantage over your opponents isn't anything new, breakthrough, or particularly offending. See "Ali, Muhammad", or "Jordan, Michael". But of course, see "board, chalk" for what happens if you can't back it up. Sometimes getting under your opponent's skin is a good strategy. Sometimes it's not. Let's see if Sherman tries to raise the ire of a certain Denver quarterback before the Super Bowl, because I am doubting he wants Peyton Manning to get any additional incentive.

If you say the criticism has nothing to do with Richard Sherman being a dreadlocked African American, you're full of it.

If you say that trash talking Crabtree isn't as unsportsmanlike as the cocky spin of the ball Tom Brady did after his touchdown--with his team down only 10 with 3 minutes to go--think about yourself. 

If you say it's nothing like Aaron Rodgers' belt-move--which also pro wrestling derived and earns him millions in endorsements-think about yourself.

And finally, that idiot Bob Frantz posted a video on his site of Richard Sherman "(getting) the taste smacked out of his mouth". I have zero problem with you wanting someone to smack a trash talking player. But don't try to judge someone for talking smack by using a phrase made popular by a smack talking athlete. It just makes you look stupider than normal. Not that Frantz would ever understand this or any irony.

Seahawks fans should love Sherman. Opposing fans should hate him. That's what he wants. But don't think that you're better than him--or that what he's doing is all that different from a ton of other athletes. He just took it to the next level.

WWE style.