BY MIKE AVALLONE
The 2014 NFC Championship game involving the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks had an estimated 55.9 million viewers, according to an NBC sports report. Of those 55.9 million viewers, it is unknown how many saw the post-game interview of Richard Sherman, the coveted defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks. Spreading like wildfire from the moment it happened, it seems as if the entire country now sees Sherman as a “thug” or a “hoodlum.” Some even see him as an embarrassment and disgrace to the game.
“Well the fact is people are judging him as a thug and an ignorant individual when he came from Compton,” said Dan Leszau, a student at County College of Morris.
Sherman, who grew up in Compton, California around gangs, violence and drugs, never participated, due to his upbringing. School held the first priority in his life, before sports or any extracurricular activity. He eventually graduated second in his high school class with a 4.2 GPA as well as graduated from Stanford University with a 3.9, according to a Huffington Post article.
“Many people do not know or even overlook the fact that he does have a communications degree from Stanford, one of the most prestigious schools in the nation,” said Robert Decena, a student at CCM. “He is a smart guy; you can hear it when he talks, so when people talk about him being a thug, they are just assuming that’s what you are when you come from Compton.”
Sherman, known for his shutdown ability at the cornerback position, he is also widely known for his trash talking on and off the field. On March 7, 2013, Sherman was on ESPN “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless talking about his play and who he feels can compete with him. Throughout the entirety of the show, Sherman was going after Bayless saying that he is better at all aspects of life than him.
“I knew of Sherman a little bit before the whole ‘First Take’ thing, but after that whole situation all I could think of was this guy is crazy,” said Sean Rabbitt, a business major at CCM. “Every generation has their trash talker, and with the level he is playing at now, he can talk all he wants.”
Leading up to this game it was known there was going to be tension between the two in- division rivals. It was also known that Sherman and 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree are not too fond of one another.
“You can see all game long that whenever Sherman lined up on Crabtree there was talking and jabbing going on,” Decena said. “It’s just the way both of them play.”
Crabtree, who was almost nonexistent when Sherman was on him, was thrown a fade route in the end-zone with 50 seconds left, with Richard Sherman in coverage. Sherman, who quickly realized the ball was thrown to Crabtree, turned his head and made an acrobatic move to bat the ball away in mid-air into the hands of his teammate Malcolm Smith for the game-sealing interception.
From this moment on, Sherman in many eyes has been degraded, judged and criticized unfairly. Sherman immediately went to Crabtree with his usual antics and was shoved away. A couple minutes passed and the unknowing reporter for Fox, Erin Andrews, was caught in what seems to be the interview of the year.
Sherman, who bashed Crabtree, called him “mediocre at best” and declared himself the best defensive back in football, is seen throughout America as a poor sportsman and classless.
“It’s not needed in sports and it was childish by him,” said William Jennings, a Mine Hill resident and volunteer recreation coach. “It doesn’t set a good example for himself if he wants to be considered the best at what he does.”
Sherman, a graduate from Stanford has never been arrested and has his own non-profit charity. He is being called classless, a thug and a disgrace, while this past off-season, 31 NFL players were arrested for gun charges, DUI’s and murder, according to the Huffington Post article.
“It’s easy to judge him based on an assumption of who he is, but get to know the person more rather than in an interview right after he made the game winning play against a player that he dislikes for personal reasons,” Leszau said. “There is such a thing as adrenaline, after all.”