by Chason Gordon
- The Capitol Hill Times -
When I was jumping around with friends in a packed Seattle bar on Sunday, we glanced at Richard Sherman giving a post-game interview on television and couldn’t hear what he was saying because of the magnificent noise. “I wonder what he’s saying,” I said. “I don’t know,” my friend responded, “but it’s probably awesome.” Indeed it was.
What I remember from Sunday is one of the greatest football games I’ve ever seen, but to hear the Internet tell it, Richard Sherman made mouth potty and somehow sinned against the football gods.
The whole kerfuffle is an overreaction, which is a reaction, too, I guess. I don’t know why we add the “over” part in there. Anyway, let’s look at the quote. After Erin Andrews asked Sherman to describe the last play, he triumphantly yelled, “Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me!”
Now, I know that sounds bad, but if you examine it closer, he’s saying that his interception isn’t impressive precisely because Crabtree is a “sorry receiver,” as he describes him. So, you see, Sherman is saying that if a better receiver had come up against him, he never would have been able to make the play. It’s actually a very humble statement and worthy of praise when you look at it that way. Are you not buying my explanation? I can tell you’re not by that look on your face. I know that look.
Look, post-game interviews are one of the most boring aspects of the NFL, in which countless players innocuously answer questions that they’ve heard thousands of times before, all while reporters hope for some remark or outburst like Sherman’s. I don’t have the statistics at the ready, but I would guess that at least 10,000 additional articles appeared this week as the result of the outburst (this one, of course, is different), written by thousands of writers who loved the chance to opine on something so juicy (again, I’m different, because I’m me).
There were millions of YouTube watches, tweets, Facebook posts and shouts from the rooftops, all for a few seconds of trash-talking that people pretended to be offended by. Sherman’s raw feeling didn’t just happen to place the spotlight on himself (which he has apologized for), it allowed others to ride the wave he created and get their own attention by commenting. In that sense, everyone owes him thanks for giving them something controversial to write about that could generate much-needed clicks and distract from the void in their soul (once again, none of this applies to me, okay?).
Let me tell you a brief story. One time, I was playing soccer and scored three goals. After the game, feeling all full of myself, I didn’t shake some of the opposing players’ hands when we did the ceremonial end-of-game handshake. It was a dick move and I was scolded for it. You see? We can all be guilty of such things. Granted, I was 13 at the time, but I really haven’t matured much since then, and would probably do it again if somebody would let me join a soccer team. And no, I’m not comparing a trip to the Super Bowl to three goals in minor league soccer game, unless you’ll let me get away with that. You won’t? Okay.
One of the concerns regarding Sherman’s comments was that this would somehow affect the country’s perception of Seattle, as if that one moment would determine American tourism patterns for years to come. Even if it did, this doesn’t bother me one iota (what’s an iota?). We’re a city that’s often perceived as passive-aggressive, full of hipsters, dark, rainy and sad (jeez). A little perception of obnoxious confidence is a nice change. Sherman’s personality is not what I associate with the archetypal Seattleite, and that’s why I like him.
This is a guy who came out of Compton and graduated Stanford (my safety school), a player whose exceptional play is buoyed by his extreme competition. If you want Sherman to make those stunning interceptions, then you’ve got to take the personality that helped him get here, I think.
Frankly, my only problem with what he said is that he didn’t say it slowly, in a reflective tone. Oh man, that would have been brutally awesome, I mean wrong, it would have been wrong.