BOSTON (CBS) — Richard Sherman has always been one of the NFL’s most outspoken players. So it was only a matter of time before he would tell his own side of a story by ESPN The Magazine’s Seth Wickersham that detailed Sherman’s festering problems with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson over the team’s loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
Sherman himself did not comment as part of the story, which said that he is still not over the Feb. 2015 loss and even thought about joining the Patriots along with Marshawn Lynch at one point. He may yet tell his own side of the story in an article for The Players Tribune, but he commented on the controversy in a new interview with USA Today.
The All-Pro cornerback was particularly unhappy that all of Wickersham’s sources, many of whom were ostensibly his current or former Seahawks teammates, spoke anonymously for the story.
“He asked a few questions to a few cowardly people. And I’ll be calling you cowards if you’re afraid to put your name on it,” said Sherman. “If you have a comment, if you’ve got something to say, you’ve got something to ask or something and you’re not willing to put your name on it, you’re kind of a coward. But maybe they’re not cowards and maybe these people never existed. Because who knows? You don’t even have to exist. You don’t have to prove anything in this world anymore.”
Sherman tacitly confirmed the accuracy of an “interaction at practice” between himself and Wilson, but added that “none of the rest of [the story] was true” and suggested that Wickersham “fabricated” the story. Wickersham noted in his report that Sherman declined to comment.
Wickersham was one of two ESPN reporters (the other being Don Van Natta Jr.) who spoke with more than 90 sources, at least 88 of them anonymous, for a story that detailed cheating accusations against the Patriots ranging from illegal videotaping to stolen play sheets.
He also said he plans to eventually tell his own side of the story “publicly,” giving reporters a chance to ask questions. The cornerback’s tenuous relationship with the media has been well-documented in recent years, most notably in an interaction with a reporter whom Sherman threatened to ruin his career.
It’s fairly standard nowadays for reporters to protect the identities of their sources. If all anonymous sources in reporters’ stories – in any topic, let alone sports – are “cowards,” then there sure are a lot of cowards out there. But it seems like Wickersham’s ESPN story has a chance to only cause more dissension within the Seahawks locker room.