The Paw Print
Richard Sherman. If you didn’t know the name before Sunday night, chances are you do now. In the final seconds of Sunday night’s matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a pass in the end zone intended for 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. The pass was then caught by Seahawk Malcolm Smith to seal the Seattle victory.
Immediately following the game, Sherman blew up in an interview saying things like “I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you going to get.” The reactions were numerous, swift, and harsh. People flocked to the internet to slam Sherman. Regardless of your feelings about the CB, it’s evident that his postgame rant has blown up into a raging debate.
But where does the blame really lie? Whose fault is it that we’re all so fired up? Is it Sherman’s fault for reacting with angry passion seconds after making a play that secured his team a Super Bowl trip? Or instead, does the blame fall on the media for sticking cameras and reporters in his face so soon? What reaction were they expecting following such a high pressure circumstance? Give the guy some time to calm down.
What do we want from Sherman? He makes loud, opinionated comments and gets slammed for being “classless” and a “thug”. So instead should he give us the cookie-cutter responses about how both teams played a great game? That’s not what excites us. Sherman shouldn’t be chastised for showing personality and answering an interview question with honesty. What purpose do interviews serve if not to find out a person’s honest opinion? The cookie-cutter answer just doesn’t cut it. And it certainly doesn’t play into the media’s need for a spectacle.
Today, it seems like the media is constantly seeking some sort of reaction to spin into their next sound bite. We’ve seen it so many times before. Players and coaches fall into the media trap, condemned to live on as the comments they made in the heat of the moment, comments that may not accurately reflect their character.
DJ Steve Porter capitalizes on these individuals’ “less-than-classy” moments in mash-ups he creates for ESPN. His videos such as “Press Hop 2” and “You Play to Win the Game” highlight some athletes and coaches’ missteps in front of the cameras. If you haven’t seen some of these videos, I suggest you track them down. They’re really quite entertaining. And maybe that’s the problem. We love that extra bit of drama. We love those polarizing figures, or we love to hate them.
This is the media’s play. They feed on these situations. Creating a story, drawing up drama, and we can’t help but get sucked in. Surely many comparisons will be made in the coming weeks between Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman. Classy vs. Classless. Good vs. Evil. And it works. We will watch.
Imagine if our lives were so scrutinized by the media and the general public. How would we react to cameras in our faces at high energy points of our lives? Would we always keep it “classy”? How then can we judge this man’s true character based on a 20 second interview? In today’s NFL where players are being arrested left and right for off the field blunders, a few overconfident comments really don’t seem so bad at all.
In the end, Richard Sherman’s comments were inappropriate for the situation. It was a time for the Seahawks to be celebrating as a team as they look to make their second ever Super Bowl appearance as a franchise. It was not the time for Richard Sherman to be calling out other players and touting his individual accomplishments. But none of this would have happened if the media hadn’t shoved cameras in his face.