FROM OUR RECLINERS, NY/NJ – In tribute to Bill Simmons, the king of writing 10,000 words about nothing, we’ll be posting semi-regular email features about trending topics. This week, we tackle interview etiquette, the Seadderall Seahawks, racist tweets, and THE BEST CORNER IN THE GAME.
Evan Slavit: Just in case you were living in a cave this week, I’ll catch you up.
That bombastic Seahawks corner, Richard Sherman, did this after winning the NFC championship game on Sunday:
Oh wait, looks like we already covered that. James, you alluded to it earlier this week, but did you have any problem with what Sherman said?
James Costanzo: Here’s my official position on Richard Sherman, articulated as clearly as I know how: Richard, please, for the love of God, say something else and save us from Justin Bieber! It can be anything, literally. Your favorite color, maybe? Or perhaps a delayed reaction to “The Red Wedding?” Anything that might distract everyone from posting that Canadian girl’s idiot smirk one. more. time. We took you for granted, Richard! We’re so sorry!
Evan: So … that’s a “no?”
James: Okay, in all honesty, my first reaction to the Sherman interview was, “Dude, really? Get a grip.” However, I mellowed from that position almost immediately, for a couple reasons.
First, I can’t presume to know what it’s like to play for an NFC championship nor will I ever experience someone shoving a camera in my face immediately after winning one. I also have no clue what Michael Crabtree said to him, but I can imagine Sherman, myself, or anyone else for that matter, overreacting under the right circumstances. People say some messed up stuff. Honey Nut Cheerios, anyone?
Look, he’s a passionate guy who was jacked up on adrenaline and said some stuff that, admittedly, he probably shouldn’t have said. Actually, the hell with it, sports need more people like him. In other words, DON’T YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH ABOUT THE BEST OR I’LL SHUT IT FOR YOU REAL QUICK! LOB!
Evan: I can excuse the rant. When it first happened I’ll admit my reaction wasn’t positive. But I too cooled pretty quickly. I don’t love the idea of attacking a player and promoting yourself in a post game interview that could’ve gone a number of different ways, but I’m also not going to condemn a 25 year-old athlete for going a little over-the-top, moments after what could be the greatest moment of his career. It certainly helps that he has since acknowledged it was a little much.
Also having Roger Goodell speak out against the rant makes it more forgivable. I can’t help but feel like you’re on the wrong side of the argument if you’re in agreement with Goodell.
And there is something I liked about the rant. Like you said, sports need more characters like him. Even if you hate him for it, doesn’t that make the game better? Didn’t the NBA become more fun when Miami became the villain of the league? If the rant rubbed you the wrong way, well now you have a rooting interest in a game you probably didn’t care about previously.
James: That’s a very underrated point. Siding with Sherman just to spite Roger Goodell? How very Costanza of you. That’s like the time George postpones a break-up with his girlfriend Daphne purely out of spite. Side note: I’ve searched for over 10 minutes to find that clip and apparently it doesn’t exist. Get on that, Internet!
Evan: Or like when Jerry tries to return that coat out of spite? Yes, that is my way of saying I couldn’t find the George clip either.
James: That’ll do. Anyway, you show Goodell. As for Sherman, well, you get off easy this time. We’ll marry you if we have to!
Evan: So, should this even be a story? Or is it just another overreaction and a way to fill back pages and airwaves?
James: I believe it became a real news story when the reaction, especially on social media, was found out to be racially motivated. Over the past couple days, others have hashed and rehashed this aspect much more thoroughly and eloquently than I ever could. Hell, unsurprisingly, Sherman himself had some very poignant things to say. I will say this, however. I believe we have a duty to confront and squash hateful attitudes whenever and wherever they arise. It pains me to say it, but I’m not surprised that people responded to Richard the way they did. It happened to Jameis Winston, Miss America, Gabby Douglas, and the President of the United States, for God’s sake, but each time it must be met with swift criticism. That’s our job.
Evan: I completely agree with you on the racial aspect. Now then, I’ve finished the most obvious statement of all-time.
James: Rant aside, I know you’re still rooting for Peyton Manning on Sunday. Don’t lie.
Evan: Of course! Peyton has arguably been the most entertaining quarterback I’ve watched in my lifetime. He’s also incredibly likable, and was in my favorite SNL skit for a professional athlete. I also have a weird loyalty to former Giants coaches (I should specify good coaches. I have standards). I’d love to see John Fox get a ring. Plus, it helps that I’m not exactly the biggest Seahawks fan.
I have several reasons why (though there are probably a lot that are unjustifiably hateful. Nothing racist, I promise), but I’ll try to be brief. They’re nicknamed Seadderall because of all the players that have been suspended for failing the league’s drug testing. I’m sure a lot of NFL players are taking HGH, but no other team has had as many players suspended for taking the drugs the league DOES test for. And to a much larger extent, it’s frustrating their coach was able to avoid the NCAA sanctions by jumping ship to the NFL right before the ruling was made.
Admittedly, if I’m able to look past my dislike of the team, I don’t have a huge problem with Sherman (figure I should try to fit Sherman into this response). He definitely got away with cheating last season, and I’ve never been a huge fan of guys who can’t stop talking. But none of that means I dislike him as a person.
Sherman may be one of the few people who I really like as a person off the field, but don’t love on it. And I’ll admit I’ve grown to like him even more as a person over the past week.
But I was annoyed by some of his actions Sunday. No, not the rant. What annoyed me most was the choking sign he made towards Kaepernick when the game was decided. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I’ve always hated actions like that after the game has been decided. Sherman tried explaining it in his column by saying he did it “because [Kaepernick] decided he was going to try the guy [Sherman] he was avoiding all game.” I’m sorry, but making the play and winning the game should be all the “talk” you need. Why feel the desire to rub it in to a team that just had its season end?
… Even if that team is the equally unlikable 49ers.
James: So, the lessons for today are as follows: If you’re an NFL team, head coach, assistant coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, player, or towel boy, don’t cross Evan or even mildly annoy him because there will be grudges to pay! (I’m the exact same way, btdubz) Also, if you’re a network responsible for airing one of the greatest non-football, football highlights ever, make sure to also reenact it using little kids!
If anything, this fiasco – Shermania, as it’s been dubbed in the New York tabloids – has made me like everything that is Richard Sherman more, if that makes sense. Before all this, I only knew the Sherman that liked to talk junk and maybe managed to duck a drug suspension. But thanks to some of our colleague’s great reporting and Richard’s own words, we’ve gotten a chance to peel back the onion. He’s sure as hell more than a 30 second sound bite or a “thug” from Compton. He’s also more than a Standford grad, high school salutatorian, fifth round pick, and NFL star. He’s Richard Sherman.