There’s already been way too much time spent on the Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman’s actions, and you know there’s only going to be more space dedicated to either celebrating or condemning him in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Whether you are a 49ers or Seahawks fan, believe he’s a classless punk or colorful character, this much was undeniable in the immediate aftermath of Seattle’s win in the NFC Championship game. Richard Sherman is about Richard Sherman.
The proof was in his rant when he referred to himself FIRST, then mentioned Michael Crabtree SECOND. He did not mention his teammates nor did he talk about one of the biggest victories in franchise history. He talked about numero uno. The only thing that mattered at that precise moment: Himself. You can chalk it up to the overflowing emotion from an intense battle, but he knew exactly what he was doing. I’m all for athletes letting their personality shine rather than spouting the same trite cliche.
In fact, I encourage it. As someone who has interviewed countless athletes, it certainly makes things way more interesting. However, he’s smart enough to know that he had a spotlight and an opportunity to perhaps further make a name for himself or even build up a brand. Who knows the actual motivating factor. Guys may claim that when they score a touchdown, they just spontaneously come up with a celebration. Yeah, right. It’s choreographed and well thought out ahead of time. Same thing in this situation. I’m actually shocked Sherman didn’t have an email composed in his draft folder and just fired a mass message to a bunch of reporters declaring his greatness.
Keep the focus on the team. Ya know, the reason why you’re even in this position in the first place. Too often this postseason, we saw players yapping after catches and first downs, or they draw attention to themselves by mocking the opposing players’ celebration. Just watch a replay of the Panthers – 49ers game. Again, all for the emotion, but its a TEAM sport. Sherman actually apologized for taking attention away from his teammates and rightfully so.
He explained himself more in Peter King’s MMQB by saying that he’s not a villain. Too late. He just converted a wide swath of the country into major Broncos fans. He said he did the choke sign because he wondered why the 49ers would throw to his side. He’s partially right. The 49ers shouldn’t have thrown his way. Hell, they shouldn’t have even thrown the deep ball in that situation. They were driving down the field with timeouts at their disposal, but you simply can’t explain away the choke sign. No reason for it. No place for it. I was positive a throat slash was going to follow. Go ahead and show all the emotion you want. Just remember you have teammates and while you’re at it, mix in a little sportsmanship.