Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) during the post game conference after the 2013 NFC Championship football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated San Francisco 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman is misunderstood, should be a guy we root for

I used to dislike Richard Sherman, and that was  back when I was too turned off by his outspokeness and trash-talk. When I was too willing to accept the anti-Sherman narratives abound in the media. When I was too PC about players actually talking trash. But since then, I’ve realized that Sherman is exactly the kind of guy I want to root for. He’s flawed, and his flaw is that he runs his mouth too much at times. But do we expect athletes to be perfect? Do certain flaws uproot all the good Sherman does, including helping troops and donating money? Sherman is a walking anti-narrative machine; he’s a self-described “nerd” from Compton who is a genius at defending his position and was a genius in high school and at Stanford.

Here are 23 great reasons to try and think of Sherman in a different light. You know, the light that isn’t portrayed by the cameras and the talking heads. The light that doesn’t exaggerate things to fill airtime or a story that makes him a villain, because it’s the villain who grabs the headline these days in a league filled with so few manufactured villains.

I wasn’t up-in-arms about Sherman’s rant against Michael Crabtree, but I was disappointed by the fact that he made the trash talk public. There are things about Sherman, such as the comments he’s made about the likes of Darrelle Revis and Skip Bayless, that upset me, and his choking sign to Colin Kaepernick was one of them. Sherman is one of those guys who I wish cared more about his media image, because it gets distorted. Sherman doesn’t say the same regurgitated stuff that most other athletes do, but I agree that he has a tendency to take it too far. The rant on Crabtree was a bit too far (which showed part of his flaws), but I think it’s become totally blown out of proportion.

You know who regrets it and who is astounded by how much of a story it has become? Richard Sherman himself. In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, Sherman stated that he regrets his actions,  “And that was immature and I probably shouldn’t have done that. I regret doing that.”

Can we please forgive him, since he was man enough to admit that he regrets it? Sherman is human and makes mistakes just like us, and he has flaws like we do. If you click the link to the interview with Nichols above, I think you’ll find that plenty of people have Sherman figured out all wrong. He’s polarizing, but that doesn’t mean he’s unlikable. I mean, if he and Erin Andrews can hug it out and laugh about the interview, then why should we be upset? Do we expect Sherman to like everyone? He has his enemies, and Crabtree is one of them due to the bad blood he has. But yes, his comments were disrespectful and unnecessary, and Sherman admits it. That should be enough.

Sherman is brash, cocky, and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He’s a fresh take from what we’re used to in a public figure, and he’s a guy who has overcome so much to be one of the league’s best and smartest players. We like to root for people who we perceive as “perfect” in sports and in life, because that’s how most of us want our heroes to look like. But not everyone can be Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson, and I think it’s great that a guy like Sherman is willing to be himself in front of the media, be different, and speak his mind. He’s a guy we should be rooting for, instead of blowing things out of proportion against. He screws up just like we do. He goes overboard, just like most of us do. He’s different, and different shouldn’t be wrong. He trash talks, and trash-talking happens all the time. Does he talk too much smack? Yes, but is that enough to hate a guy who does so much good for the community and plays at such a high level? Heck no, and don’t let any mainstream, old-school perception of athletes skew Sherman as a person.

I used to hate Sherman and once called him a “loudmouth bigot”. But now I appreciate him for what he is: a great athlete and person who makes his fair share of errors, too, but is actually man enough to admit it. I wish he would tone it down, but only because it causes the good he does to be overshadowed by superficial qualms. Respect is an important word, though, and I guess it’s fair to criticize Sherman for lacking respect when looking at comments he’s made towards fellow NFL stars like Roddy White and Revis.

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Tags: Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks

  • Scott.

    Yeah maybe we should but all too many times when he opens his mouth negativity towards something or someone comes out. I can not and will not root for that no matter where he came for or achieved. I applaud him for his focus and sacrifices and his motivation to remove himself from the hood he gre up in. He and his family should be very proud. His last statement about it’s not ok to call him a “thug” because “thug” has replaced the N word is laughable. Can I call someone a moron or idiot or is that code word for the N word.

    • Joe Soriano

      I agree with your last sentence; the word “thug” shouldn’t be taken to that extreme. I think it’s fair for you not to want to root for Sherman, and I think I should have worded things differently. You don’t have to root for him, but you should respect him.

      • Scott.

        I respect all he has overcome and accomplished. Most importantly he used his environment growing up as motivation and molded his life the way he wanted it. He worked hard and persevered. For that I respect him and wish him the best. Hopefully he takes the time to give back to the youth of his hometown and show that there’s opportunities in life if you follow the right path and work hard.

        • Joe Soriano

          Great comment, Scott. Appreciate you dropping by and giving your opinion on things.

          • Scott.

            Thank you for responding to posts on your article. Not all back up their articles.

          • Joe Soriano

            And those who don’t rob themselves from an incredibly valuable experience, because interacting with readers allows me to learn more about the game and see more sides of the issue. That’s important, and it’s why I value well thought-out comments so much. Even if someone disagrees with me (actually, especially if someone doesn’t agree), I appreciate the comment, and the only comments I don’t like are the ones that are from the trolls haha.

  • Chris smith

    Richard Sherman is “not” misunderstood. He is a good corner but another “look at me, aren’t I special” guy. I remember he had a spot on one of the networks, I can’t remember which one, where the whole bit was Sherman walking around with a microphone asking random fans who they thought the best corner in the league was and then acting incredulous when his name wasn’t the answer. He “needs” to be told how good he is and “demands” respect of other players while giving none himself. His opinion of himself is so great that anything other than saying he’s the greatest corner ever is perceived in his own mind as a diss. And now add going to the race card to the mix. Only Seahawks fans defend his behavior. His rant after the game was embarrassing and awkward to watch. It literally took much away from the great play he made at the end of the game. A really good corner? Yes. A “misunderstood” player who people other than Seahawks fans should root for? No.

    • Joe Soriano

      I think he did that whole “Revis or Sherman” thing as a joke, but I can see where you are upset about his “I’m the best” attitude. Sherman has a massive chip on his shoulder, which makes his confidence all the more intriguing. He’s not the only person who does the whole “I’m the best” bit, but I think most of us can agree that his rant against Crabtree took things a step too far. Had he merely said something like, “Don’t challenge me on important plays like that,” we would have all been better off.

      For the record, I’m not a Seahawks fan and I’m defending Sherman. However, I hate that people have to play the race card either in support of Sherman or, worse yet, when attacking him. 99.9% of people love or hate Sherman for reasons that are much, much different than race.

      Appreciate the comment, Chris. Always great to hear another opinion being presented on the site, especially when it helps lead to a constructive discussion.