By now, just about everybody knows about Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s now infamous “postgame rant” during last Sunday’s NFC title game. If you’ve read the news or watched TV lately, you’re probably also familiar with the ensuing social media and sports-punditry frenzy-it has to be one of the most editorialized moments in recent sports history.
If you missed the whole thing, count yourself lucky as you missed out on nothing but ugliness from all sides involved. Sherman’s behavior and the media circus that ensued embodies the worst of sportsmanship and the worst kind of soft-entertainment-news coverage fueled by generous helpings of social media sound bites and trumped up news media sensationalism.
It has been frustrating to watch the situation snowball because it was really a very straightforward case of a bad decision in the heat of the moment by Sherman that was then thoroughly obfuscated by the media looking for something to talk about in the two-week lull before the Super Bowl.
All that ever needed said is that Sherman verbally attacked his opponent, San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, declaring himself the best “corner in the game,” and also made a choking gesture toward 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. They were classless and stupid acts. That’s it. That’s where the conversation ends. That’s not to say that Sherman is a bad or unintelligent person-he just did the wrong thing.
As is now well documented, Sherman is a Stanford graduate who came from humble beginnings and worked hard to get where he is. He is also very generous through his charitable organizations. Clearly he is not a bad person, but simply behaved as a bad sportsman in that one instance.
It’s really not the first time an athlete has been an ungracious winner or let their ego get the better of them, and it likely won’t be the last. We all should have forgiven his stupid mistake and moved on. Hopefully, by the time this appears in print, the entire “scandal” will be completely forgotten.
Unfortunately, we have another week until the Super Bowl, which is ample time for the “scandal” to be rehashed a million different ways. It’s also ample time for vile, racist twits to hurl slurs at Sherman from the anonymous safety of social media and help turn this into a racial thing.
This is all very sad because it shows how racism is still alive and well in this country, and because it hijacks a conversation that should have only ever been about sportsmanship.
(Devin Bezeredi is a report for The Review. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)