Posted January 22, 2014

Richard Sherman says it’s really disappointing to be called a thug

NFC West, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVIII
U mad, bro? You might be if you typecast Richard Sherman to narrowly. (Robert Beck/SI)

U mad, bro? You might be if you typecast Richard Sherman too narrowly. (Robert Beck/SI)

RENTON, Wash. — In his first press conference since he called San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree “mediocre” following the postgame meltdown that shook the world in the NFC Championship Game, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman played to type by playing completely against it. On Sunday evening, he was brash, outspoken and obnoxious. From the podium at Seahawks headquarters on Wednesday, Sherman was introspective, respectful and … dare we say humble. The questions came thick and fast about his postgame rant, and Sherman was more than ready for the backlash. In fact, he seemed to revel it to a certain degree.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Things like this happen, and you prepare for the consequences. You deal with people’s opinions. I come from a place where it’s all adversity, so what’s a little more? What’s a little bit more of people telling you what you can’t do? What you’re not going to do? What you’ve done? There’s always a little bit more of that, but it’s fine to me.”

One thing’s for sure — Sherman did not expect the reactions to a few ill-chosen words to spiral out of control as they did over the last few days.

“I’m really surprised that it did [garner so much attention]. If I’d have known that it would blow up the way it did, I probably would have approached it differently. Just in terms of the way it took away from my teammates’ great games. Kam Chancellor played a fantastic game and had an interception. Huge plays, and he played almost a perfect ballgame. Marshawn [Lynch] ran for … freakin’ Beast Mode ran for 100 yards-plus and had a great touchdown run. [Linebacker] Bobby [Wagner] had 15 tackles. So many people had great games, you’d think the stories would be about them. That’s the only thing I feel regretful about.”

Unquestionably (and perhaps somewhat surprisingly to those who believe that Sherman prefers to live life like a pro wrestling heel), he was far more surprised by the negative responses than by any level of subsequent support.

“The backlash surprised me, because I think the support came after the backlash. I was a little surprised, because we’re talking about football here. A lot of people took it further than football. And I guess some people showed how far we’ve really come in this day and age. And it was kind of profound, what happened. Because I was on a football field showing passion. Maybe it was misdirected, maybe it was immature, maybe things could have been worded better. But this was on a football field — I wasn’t committing any crimes or doing anything illegal; I was showing passion after a football game. I didn’t have time to sit there and contemplate, ‘What am I gonna say?’

“But the people who were typing behind computer screens had all the time in the world to contemplate everything they were gonna say. They articulated exactly like they wanted to. Some of it, I’m sure they were pretty embarrassed about.”

The backlash also included overtly racist reactions to his comments, his demeanor and his entire way of doing things. It’s easy enough to search out the obvious words, so we’ll spare you that particular ugliness. But Sherman was not spared. He saw it all, and the “thug” designations from those in the social media realm — and some in the football media realm who should know better — hit him with their full weight.

“I don’t know if they’ll ever give me any sympathy. If they label me a villain, that’s what it is. Maybe my actions deserved that. I don’t think I’m a villain. People always say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ and then they judge a book by its cover. They’re judging me from the football field right after a game, and not who I am. Now, if I had ever gotten arrested, or committed all these crimes, or gotten suspended for crimes off the field and done all that, I could accept being a villain. But I’ve done nothing villainous.

“The only reason [the word 'thug'] bothers me is that it seems to be the accepted way of calling somebody the ‘n-word’ now, and they say, ‘Oh, that’s fine.’ And that’s where it kind of takes me aback. It’s disappointing, because they know — what’s the definition of a thug, really? Can a guy on a football field, just talking to people on a football field, be a thug? Maybe I’m talking loudly and talking like I’m not supposed to, but there are hockey players … there was a hockey game where they didn’t even play hockey — they just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that, and I’m just saying, ‘Aw man — and I’m the thug? What’s going on here?”

“So, I’m really disappointed in being called a thug.”

Sherman’s performances have their predecessors in all kinds of trash-talk. And it was just as much Larry Bird as it was Muhammad Ali back in the day. The former heavyweight champ was certainly on Sherman’s mind as he reflected on what he said and what it all meant.

“I think he handled it by continuing to be himself — he handled it head-on,” Sherman said of Ali. “He didn’t hide from it; he didn’t run from it. He stood his ground, and his circumstances were incredibly hard. What he had to deal with was 100 times crazier than it is now. This is regular society, and that’s one of the things I feel I may be missing out on.

“I feel like my game might be 20 years too late. Maybe I watched those guys too much. Maybe I studied Muhammad Ali, Deion Sanders, the Michael Irvins, the Jerry Rices, I studied the old-school game more than I studied the new-school game, and I play it that way. And it rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Giving a true speech after a game? That’s old-school football. Playing press corner and sitting up there on every play is old-school football. I guess … maybe I haven’t adjusted to the times.”

Sherman won’t get a break from this thing he created, that then mushroomed far beyond his control. He’s got this week in Seattle, and then a week before the Super Bowl begins in which his every utterance will be dissected mercilessly.

He understands the game, but Sherman seems to be thinking that the rules have changed. Whether that has an impact on his own words and actions remains to be seen. As does the notion that he needs to change anything at all. That is the internal battle, and it’s far longer-lasting than any dust-up he may have with various Broncos on Feb. 2.

128 comments
RebelRFS
RebelRFS

Sherman, you are a ghetto Thug...you're one class less individual. 

likhon
likhon

Sherman, we don't know you personally and don't follow Seahawks enough to know what are you all about. If you don't want to be called a thug, don't act like one. Show your emotion in a different way, you are a smart man, you can figure it out. Saying sorry after the fact really doesn't cut it. 

BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro

Does sherman prefer to be called a THUGGER or a THUGGA ??

Bronte'Purvis
Bronte'Purvis

thug

noun \ˈthəg\

: a violent criminal


I think what Richard Sherman is saying is that he isn't a criminal, he was showing emotion after a football game. You can call him arrogant, disrespectful or whatever but the word "thug" adds a stigma that he is doing things that he is dirty player or that he is doing illegal acts. The word "thug" is being used in the wrong context. And I don't see his comments as appropriate, I honestly don't understand what the big deal was outside of him personally attacking Crabtree. Can someone tell me why this as big of a deal as it is? 

MarkCalasade
MarkCalasade

If Sherman doesn't wish to be called a thug, maybe he shouldn't be a thug. NO CLASS.

x72
x72

Manning = all class

Sherman = dumb thug

SportsLover14
SportsLover14

Richard Sherman is a man who will taunt opponents after he has beaten them. This was no mistake he can apologize for- he has done it before many times.  He shows no respect for the game .  These are ugly, selfish acts.    I know lots of jerks who went to Stanford- he may be educated but he shows no class, grace or dignity. 

dennis
dennis

"It's disappointing to be a thug."

JackHoff
JackHoff

Stupid thug behavior. It is what it is.

David9
David9

Act like a child when you are man and you will attract people that disagree with you. His words are indefensible, but he tries to defend them by saying it is football. Well, he was penalized for his wrong behavior. He then had like 3-5 minutes to chill out, but continued acting like a child. He should be apologizing for acting like a narcissistic child. He should apologize to crabtree, his teammates, and everyone that was watching. PERIOD

johnplantagenet
johnplantagenet

Act like an angry punk, or thug, and you'll be labeled one. Sherman wanted to embarrass Crabtree and only embarrassed himself. I for one will now be rooting for the Broncos to win, as I am sure many others have also changed who they want to win.

pm2875
pm2875

What's disappointing is Sherman trying to justify his actions as being "in the moment". 


But that wasn't even his first interview. His first interview was to ESPN desportes. He was looking for the camera just so he could attack Crabtree. Then he got Erin Andrews and decided to ignore her question to attack Crabtree again (This time making sure it was an American audience). 


Even Deion Sanders said it, "you don't put your fellow players down".  His actions were pompous, rude and mean spirited. So, the reaction he got from the public is actually fair. 

Outside the box
Outside the box

Richard, Richard, Richard, come on pal. You are obviously a very intelligent, well educated young man. To try and make your childish rant after the game seem like it was ok because you didn't have time to think about your comments is pretty disingenuous.


Pro football players are interviewed regularly right after big NFL games, wins or losses and I have NEVER seen any one of them take that opportunity to insult and degrade another player, or exaggerate their own talent and accomplishments. 


All you did was make yourself look like a selfish, self absorbed, poorly educated player who talks like he is from the 'hood and has gang tattoos. You are selfish and egotistical, and now you are trying to minimize what you did because you realize you f**ked up.

donald5
donald5

I was calling Cortland Finnegan a thug even when I thought he was white

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

Let's just be real with everything, 'thug' is the new 'N' word when one of these black guys does something that people deem to be inappropriate.

Cool
Cool

I am disappointed that he seems to be cashing in on this "thug" moment.

Taylor C
Taylor C

Everyone was calling Incognito a thug a while back, and he's white.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

Sherman knows it so I'm not pointing out anything new but the main problem that I have with his outburst is purely that he never mentioned his team or his teammates at all.  It was nothing but "me, me, me!'

He didn't even answer the actual question. 

kcsh18
kcsh18

Umm, Richard...you in other recorded rants have used the "N" word and used the word "redneck"..so I'm guessing you're OK with "thug"??   Right, Dawg?

matt37
matt37

You know what's ironic here, is the fact that the player who actually intercepted the ball hasn't said a word.  Lynch, with his dreds and tattoos and grill....is pure class and sportsmanship on the field.  Wilson is all class and sportsmanship on the field. 

The Seahawks just pulled off the biggest victory in the history of their franchise.  They are an exciting young team going to the Super Bowl.  They have a lot of classy players. 

And what is everyone talking about?  This tool.

EricWelsh
EricWelsh

As much as I defend Sherman, he obviously never heard the saying: "You are, in the eyes of others, only as they perceive you to be." 

Worry about what those close to you think of you and don't pay attention to the rest of the world, because they will just never know the real you.

swidt
swidt

The refs weren't being racist when they flagged Sherman for unsportsmanlike conduct.

southaustin
southaustin

Richard Sherman couldn't care less about what you losers think about him , He's just fanning the flames  to keep this story alive and his name in the news.  He probably  wants a career in media afterwards and getting his name is the news now is a good way to establish his brand. His piece on SI set records for web hits. He makes more in one year than the losers criticizing  make in their entire lives and regardless of how many times you  call him a thug that isn't going to change - he'll still be rich and you'll still be losers. Nothing wrong with being a loser but a loser who thinks that their opinion matters to people who earn in the top 1% of the population need a serious reality check along with many visits  to a shrink

socaldodgerfan
socaldodgerfan

I watch football for entertainment.  Richard Sherman's post game interview was very entertaining.  Mission accomplished.  It made me want to find out more about Sherman.  I have to admit,  I didn't know who he was before as Im not really up on player names.  But I've become a fan of Richard Sherman.  Hopefully someday he will sign with my Vikings.

RockinManny
RockinManny

Oh now little Richie is hurt!! 

Off you go bad people- don't be writing bad things about this perennial pro-bowler, best cornerbacks in the NFL!!


I feel sorry for this poor soul and see how badly disturbed he is.- Don't hurt his poor soul any further. 

JackHoff
JackHoff

Uh oh, better call Jesse & Reverend Al. Little Richard's feelings are hurt.

JuanPeinado
JuanPeinado

@Zeshan Weird how people want to turn this into a racial thing.  Attack white people when someone who happens to be black acts like an a$$.  Also if you can't see the difference between Sherman and these guys, you are part of the problem.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@ProfessorGriff 

Professor of grievance and mind-reading, no doubt, on call with the Thought Police.

When Richie Incognito was run out of Miami, people called him a thug, because he was:  loudmouthed, nasty, low-character.

I recall Bill Laimbeer being called "thug" constantly for going under the boards in a manner that was described as "playing hard" and "hard, clean basketball" when Moses Malone or Karl Malone did it.

People like you are the problem.  Hijacking the language to enable bad behavior by racial minorities only makes the problem worse.

Cool
Cool

@ProfessorGriff I have used the word "thug" for many many years.  Never once in all those years did I use it to describe a mans color of skin.  When I use the word today that still remains true.  A "thug" is someone/anyone who verbally or physically abuses others out of sense of superiority and then struts around like he/she is invincible.  I think those who mention Incognito as a thug have it right. 

MyronBernard
MyronBernard

@matt37 You know what's ironic here, is you using Lynch as the example. I'm a Seahawks fan, and I LOVE Lynch, but shouldn't his offseason DUI be a blacker mark on a persons character than a postgame rant? Please don't take me wrong, I agree that there are classy players on the Hawks, and watching Lynch's E:60, I have a TON of respect for the guy, but maybe we don't have things in perspective when we call people "a tool" for ranting and others "classy" for far worse behavior.

MyronBernard
MyronBernard

@swidt I don't think anyone's insinuating that at all. It's the terms of N-word, thug and comparing him to a gangbanger in the blogosphere that come across as racist.

BY
BY

@southaustin Because the measure of a person is solely (that means only) dependent on how much money they have....You must be a blast to be around with your enlightened views...

I guess only the rich are allowed to have opinions....

donald5
donald5

@southaustin  So making money is the qualifier for being better than anyone else?  I bet a lot of man on man adult film stars make way more money than you do southaustin... does that make you a loser compared to some guys who do films like that?  Does that make them above losers like you?  

RockinManny
RockinManny

@southaustin  "He makes more in one year than the losers criticizing  make in their entire lives and regardless of how many times you  call him a thug that isn't going to change - he'll still be rich and you'll still be losers" 

 - are you sure about that??  

RS CONTRACT:

4 yr(s) / $2,222,424


You must be talking about yourself then!!  

TheBlayman
TheBlayman

@socaldodgerfan then you shouldn't watch football. try wrestling. the guy is an idiot and very immature. 

DiamondMask
DiamondMask

@RockinManny 

This is a grammatical nightmare. People who can't write or play cornerback really shouldn't be pointing fingers at anybody.

MyronBernard
MyronBernard

@JackHoff If you watch or listen to the press conference that's clearly not what he was expressing. The article does a bad job communicating that, so I'd understand why you could get the impression that RS is acting hurt. He really wasn't. 

555sexydrive
555sexydrive

@DiamondMask@JackHoff 

I know these words are probably not spoken by children these days, because well they all get a ribbon and/or trophy for showing up, but what happened to, "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?"  If somebody wants to spew what one perceives as racist banter, ignore it, why let it get under your skin to make a comment and extend it further?  If you are still sleeping, WAKE UP and realize that this is what the media and the overlords want, to keep us divided with an ignorant racial line.