Lebron James told Richard Sherman Thursday that he need not worry about the talking heads calling him a "thug" for his emotional outburst after the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC Championship. The postgame rant during his interview with Erin Andrews went viral, but the defensive back got a lot of negative press for the adrenaline-fueled tirade.
"I don't know one 'thug' that graduated from Stanford and also working on their Masters!" James tweeted to Sherman Thursday in support of the cornerback. "Don't judge a book by its cover."
Sherman, who yelled that he is the "the best corner in the game" during his interview, was demonized for the rant. Some of the comments from media outlets and social media users were even racially tinged, which led to a debate about whether what he said was colored by his ethnicity.
Sherman addressed the controversy in a Wednesday press conference.
"The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's the accepted way of calling somebody the n-word nowadays," Sherman told reporters. "I saw a hockey game where they threw the puck aside and just started fighting. I saw that and I'm like, 'So I'm the thug?'"
"I know some 'thugs,' and they know I'm the furthest thing from a thug," Sherman, who graduated from Stanford with a 3.9 GPA, continued. "I've fought that my whole life … you hear Compton, you hear Watts … you just think, 'thug, he's a gangster, he's this, that and the other,' and then you hear Stanford, and they're like, 'oh man, that doesn't even make sense, that's an oxymoron.' You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it's frustrating."
Nevertheless, Sherman has found support from various places, athletes included.
"Keep going ham on the field @Rsherman_25! Best of luck in the SuperBowl," James tweeted.
"Congrats on a great post season run! You are a special player," Sean Payton, head coach for the New Orleans Saints, tweeted to Sherman. Baseball legend Hank Aaron has also publicly supported Sherman.