Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman embodies the spirit of sports

I love Richard Sherman.

That’s right, I said it. I love everything about the guy, and I am not a Seattle Seahawks fan. In fact, I was rooting for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

I love Sherman, because he embodies exactly what sports should be: fun.

But once again, Sherman’s off-the-field antics have, according to pundits, overshadowed his on-field heroics and given his critics even more fuel to lambaste the 25-year-old, a native of Compton, who is working on getting his master’s degree from his alma mater, Stanford.

Sherman’s incredible defensive play to close the NFC Championship and send his team to the Super Bowl was followed by an equally as incredible post-game interview.

In case you have been living under a rock, here is Sherman’s response to Erin Andrews asking him to take her through the final play.

“I’m the best corner in the game! 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.”

A scared Andrews asked who was talking about him, and Sherman replied, “Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’mma shut it for you real quick. LOB (Legion of Boom)!”

Mic. Dropped.

Legendary, epic and best interview ever were my thoughts and also some of the positive reactions Sherman’s interview received as people took to Twitter, but the negative reactions were more frightening than anything Sherman ever said.

Some of the less offensive terms used to describe Sherman were “thug,” “ape” and “gorilla,” while the more offensive terms should be removed from the English language.

Even some professional athletes toasted Sherman for his postgame behavior, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who told a Boston radio host, “We win with graciousness.” Actually Tom, you didn’t win at all this year and frankly, I’m tired of fans and athletes alike acting like there is a correct way to act after a big win or big play.

First off, the overused cliché “act like you’ve been there,” needs to stop now. The fact is that most of us haven’t been there and will never know what it feels like to make the game winning play and therefore can’t speak to how we would react.

Second, when it comes right down to it, you’re probably just mad at Sherman, because he isn’t on your team.

Let me guess, your team would never draft a guy like Sherman, or you don’t want a guy like that on your team, right? I’m sure that’s what every holier-than-thou Patriots fan was saying (wait, Aaron Hernandez?), but a guy like Sherman sure could’ve helped your secondary last weekend when it was being torn to shreds by Peyton Manning.

The fact is, your team would draft a guy like Sherman (they are probably wishing they had), and if they had, you would be yelling louder than he was and singing his praises. I wish my team had four Richard Shermans in the secondary and five more coming off the bench.

I think we all just need to take a deep breath and remember one thing: It’s a game, folks.

Yes, football is a game. Shocking, right?

Tens of thousands show up at the stadium in droves on Sunday morning, while tens of millions tune in on television, all expecting one thing to be entertained by the greatest reality show on television, the National Football League.

And what I saw Sunday evening was more entertaining than anything I have seen in the past several months of football. I actually wish every game ended like that, and I wish more athletes would speak their minds when it comes to on- and off-the-field feuds they have with other athletes.

The postgame press conference was pretty entertaining, too, as an articulate, studious and calm(er) Sherman took the podium looking like a college professor and being refreshingly sincere.

When asked about his postgame comments, he reiterated instead of rescinding, “Oh, I was making sure everybody knew that Crabtree was a mediocre receiver,” he said. “Mediocre. And when you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens.”

Brilliant.

I’m all for having respect for your opponents (in an interview with Scott Van Pelt, Sherman said he went to say good game to Crabtree just after the play and Crabtree responded by basically punching him), but I do not realistically expect a guy to play a game as brutal and passionate as football and then come off the field and thank his opponents. Especially when they have a sordid and overly competitive past.

To those who say that Sherman’s interview overshadowed the Seahawks’ win or detracted from his play on the field, I say it merely added to the mystique that is the Legion of Boom and gave us the most memorable moment (both on and off the field) in the NFL this season.

 

Reach the columnist at npmendo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @NPMendoza