BOSTON (CBS) — Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, ever a lightning rod of spirited debate, expressed regret for his post- NFC Championship Game behavior … but not completely.
In an article titled “10 Things I Learned After America Learned About Me” on Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback site, Sherman opens by expressing regret for attacking Michael Crabtree.
“If I could pass a lesson on to the kids it would be this: Don’t attack anybody,” Sherman wrote. “I shouldn’t have attacked Michael Crabtree the way I did. You don’t have to put anybody else down to make yourself bigger.”
Sherman’s self-described attack on Crabtree extended beyond his now-infamous postgame interview with Erin Andrews and into the CenturyLink Field interview room. There, Sherman made it clear that he felt Crabtree is a “mediocre receiver” by saying so multiple times, all while smirking and wearing a bow tie. He clearly set out to mock the 49ers receiver on national TV, and he was able to deliver his message loud and clear.
Sherman apparently regrets the personal attack on Crabtree, but he also finished his story by saying, “If I had to do it all again, I’d probably do some of the same things.”
So he’s sorry, but not that sorry. If he did indeed mean it when he wrote “You don’t have to put anybody else down to make yourself bigger,” then that’s wonderful. Why it took him 25 years to learn that lesson, and why he conveniently learned it this week, we can’t know for sure. But that’s spectacular timing for someone to learn a basic rule of human decency.
Where Sherman — who was fined $7,875 for taunting — makes a strong, irrefutable point is when he said this: “The NFL always wins.”
“Every time a game ends on a controversial call or somebody loses it on camera, it’s free advertising for the NFL,” Sherman wrote. “That means more eyes on the Super Bowl, more clicks for their websites, and potentially more sales of my jersey, for which I don’t see a kickback. Even when they’re taking money out of my pockets with fines, the league is constantly winning.”
For a player of Sherman’s caliber to make under $500,000 while commissioner Roger Goodell hauls in $29.5 million annually (hold on for one second, I’m getting a little bit nauseous after writing that … oh, it hurts … oh, the pain … is life worth living anymore? … OK, I’m back … as much as I can be), it’s fair for a player who puts his body on the line every week to take issue. Of course, Sherman will make a ton of money with his next contract, and that’s partially due to his own efforts to raise his profile by any means necessary. Nobody can fault him for that, considering the average NFL career lasts 3.2 years. Goodell will make close to $90 million or even more in the next three years, and Sherman is just trying to make his own money.
Sherman admitted as much, saying he was bothered that he interviewed fans on Bourbon Street before last year’s Super Bowl and none of them knew who he was. He says other great defensive backs — including New England’s Aqib Talib — aren’t widely known because they’re “not the loudest players.”
“You’re anonymous until you put yourself out there or show up in a big game,” Sherman wrote. “I did both.”
From all of that, the world can at least understand why Sherman feels the need to go over the top in promoting himself, as he is undeniably one of the best in the league at his position. If he didn’t make an effort to stand out, he’d be costing himself dollars, money that he’ll only be able to earn for a finite number of years in the brutal league known as the NFL. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But the contrition about specifically attacking Crabtree? That’s baloney.
Sherman did the same thing to Tom Brady last year, posting a “U Mad Bro?” photo of the two meeting up after a Seattle victory and displaying the creativity of an average 13-year-old Twitter troll in the process, and if there hadn’t been a tidal wave of backlash from his most recent interview with Andrews, you’d be able to make a safe bet that he’d be doing it again after his next big play. He deserves credit for being a spin control master, as he’s probably made great strides in converting some of the people who initially were repulsed by him into fans. His efforts, though, are fairly transparent.
Taunting and grandstanding is a part of who he is, and as an adult male, if it takes a national outrage for you to learn that you shouldn’t publicly attack other people, then you’re not really learning much at all.