Kevin Schnepf, Published January 20 2014
Schnepf: Richard Sherman knew what he was doing with postgame tirade
If Republican Sen. John McCain is justified in calling Dennis Rodman an idiot, then I think it’s OK for American tweeters to proclaim Richard Sherman as one, too.
There’s only one difference: Sherman knows what he is doing.
Yes, Richard Sherman – the self-proclaimed best cornerback in the National Football League – knew what he was doing Sunday night when he went on a WWE-type tirade in front of millions of television viewers after he and his Seattle Seahawks teammates earned a spot to the Super Bowl.
Unlike Rodman, Sherman is an educated man from academic-rich Stanford University. But much like Rodman, Sherman spouted off like a mad man when Fox reporter Erin Andrews stuck a microphone in his face – moments after his pass deflection was intercepted by a teammate, securing Seattle’s 23-17 NFC Championship win against the San Francisco 49ers.
“I’m the best corner in the game!” Sherman screamed, looking straight into the television sets across America – perhaps a technique he acquired while earning his communications major at Stanford. Then he went off on Michael Crabtree, the 49ers receiver he was covering on that game-clinching play, and the same Crabtree he has had a feud with since last spring.
“When you try me with a sorry receiver like (Michael) Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me!”
“Who was talking about you?” a startled Andrews asked.
“Crabtree. Don’t you talk about the best, or I’m going to shut it for you real quick!”
That one minute of air time sparked a twitter outrage. All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander tweeted: “If he played baseball … would get a high and tight fastball.” NBC-TV anchor Matt Lauer tweeted: “Anyone else hoping he gives up five touchdowns in the Super Bowl?”
That one minute of air time has changed the focus of the Super Bowl. It will no longer be about the possibility of a snowstorm at the Super Bowl site in New Jersey. It will no longer be about Denver quarterback Peyton Manning playing for a Super Bowl ring in the home stadium of his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Like it or not, the focus will be on Richard Sherman. Like it or not, the NFL is loving this.
Like it or not, there will be in-depth stories looking at the “real” Richard Sherman – telling us about his father who drove a garbage truck for a living; revealing that at the age of 12, he was impressed watching a documentary of another outspoken athlete, champion boxer Muhammad Ali; or showing us images of inner-city school kids who have received school supplies from his charity “Blanket Coverage.”
Richard Sherman is indeed no Dennis Rodman – the former NBA all-star who has recently gained notoriety for his strange relationship with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader who once threatened a nuclear attack on the United States and who last month executed his uncle.
“I think he’s an idiot,” Sen. McCain said, referring to Rodman’s association with Kim. “I think he’s the very person that – of not great intellect – who doesn’t understand that he really does provide propaganda for this very brutal, ruthless man.”
That’s real life, as bizarre as it seems watching Rodman shake hands with a dictator.
What we have with Richard Sherman is a game. As big of a business as the NFL has become, it’s only a game – and Sherman knows it.
I guess we shouldn’t have been as stunned as we were after watching his postgame tirade – trash-talking and Sherman go hand in hand.
Sherman once called sports radio talk show host Skip Bayless “ignorant, pompous and egotistical” to his face. (Something probably a lot of us would like to do anyway).
In 2012, Sherman mocked all-pro quarterback Tom Brady. Last year, after some calculated postgame taunting, Sherman got punched in the face by the Washington Redskins’ Trent Williams. Sherman could be seen golf-clapping in the face of Atlanta’s Roddy White – seconds after White scored a touchdown on him.
So it’s hard to believe Sherman when he said he was offering a hand shake and a “good game” comment to Crabtree seconds after his game-clinching tipped pass. It was at the same time when he directed a choke sign at San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Had Kaepernick thrown that pass one inch higher, it could have been Crabtree celebrating, taunting and yelling to the nation.
Instead, for the next 13 days until that 5:25 p.m. Super Bowl kickoff, Sherman will be analyzed, scrutinized, chastised and immortalized. And Sherman will be loving every minute of it.
In the meantime, it’s OK if we call this Stanford honors student an idiot.
Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor
Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549
or at firstname.lastname@example.org