Is Richard Sherman vindicated and Michael Crabtree vilified?
by Robert Randle
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It has been nearly a week since Seattle Seahawks Defensive Cornerback Richard Sherman’s postgame victory rant to FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews, which has gone viral on the Internet. The thing is though, a sincere apology from Sherman and a fine in excess of $7,800 from the NFL for taunting, notwithstanding, there are several things that need to be put into perspective. The first thing that has to be admitted is Sherman’s behavior in that moment of his interview was unprofessional, but it does not mean he has “no class.” In fact, his class was on display after the game winning deflection of San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick’s pass to Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree that as both players were walking off the field, a jubilant Sherman patted Crabtree on the backside and said, “Hell of a game.” An understandably dejected Crabtree did not acknowledge Sherman, and rebuffed his gesture with a swing of his arm toward Sherman’s shoulder or facemask. In all due fairness to Crabtree, he almost made an incredible catch that would have sealed Seattle’s fate, and the San Francisco Forty-Niners would have been representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII. Obviously, the weight of that fact was not lost on Crabtree and so because he is such a competitor, as well as feeling a little bit like he might have let his team down, he acted the way that he did; but that was of course, on the field.
Now to break it down a little more: This was the third meeting between the Forty-Niners and Seahawks in this football season and there is probably no love lost between these two professional sports franchises, coaches and their fans; let alone the players. As always, the media likes to stir things up and will exploit to the fullest any trash talking or incident for maximum effect, and such is the case in this case. Any casual viewer of the Seattle Seahawks games cannot but notice Richard Sherman always talking because that’s just the way he is. Even during interviews after the game, on more than one occasion Richard Sherman not only likes to talk into the mic and in front of the camera. He also likes to play like a reporter by taking the mic and asking some of his fellow teammate’s questions, too. With all that being said, Q13 FOX, in true 12th man true blue-green Seahawk fashion, expended considerable resources to vindicate Richard Sherman but allowing the viewing audience to hear a recording of what was said on the field after the Seahawks victory; which has been broadcast over and over again every day since last Sunday. Sports Director Aaron Levine is especially annoying, and I think Michelle Ludtka should replace him because she is a better sportscaster, period. The one thing that I think portrayed Richard Sherman in the negative light that it did was during his tirade, he called out Crabtree as “second-rate” and by saying, “This is what happens when you try to test/challenge me” [paraphrasing Sherman].
I can understand why Coach Pete Carroll and The Seahawks organization wanted to do damage control in a hurry, and get this matter behind them and not let it take on a life of its own, and become a distraction leading up to and possibly during game day. Strategically, Richard Sherman talked about his behavior was not who he really was, and the outburst was just a side of him as a player in the heat of a hard-fought battle, and it was not personal. Then there was the Sherman family biography with his parents especially praising Richard’s academic accomplishments as an Honor’s Student in High School and Stanford graduate with a BA in Communications. Such a wonderful picture and not that of a “thug” drafted strictly for athletic ability. There was also mention of the charity work that Richard Sherman is involved in, but many professional sports athletes give back to the community or get involved in helping others; Crabtree probably does the same, as well as other San Francisco Forty-Niners. In fact, the Forty-Niners or their fans are involved in a local charity in the South Sound (Seattle or thereabouts).
One final point: I wonder if there would have been the same concern or outrage if Richard Sherman had done his Dennis Rodman high-on-somethin’ ranting and raving persona in front of reporter Pam Oliver [who reportedly said that the 12th man wasn’t all that great; at least to her] instead White reporter Erin Andrews.
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January 25, 2014
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