(Photo: Richard Sherman via Twitter)
Love him or not particularly care for him, Richard Sherman has been the subject of water cooler (but mostly online) viral chat for more than a week since the Seattle Seahawks' DB controversial on-field interview after the playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Aside from the interview with Fox Sports Erin Andrews that appeared to be a jacked-up Sherman ranting about his opponent Michael Crabtree with just a little too much zeal, NBC Football Night in America commentator and former NFL coach Tony Dungy said he wasn't as concerned about the interview after the game as he was about the defensive back's actions immediately following his victory-saving play. Dungy, a leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, released a video of his thoughts about the controversy on his blog on the All Pro Dad website last Wednesday.
Sherman himself was not shy to respond to the criticism. This week he released a "10 Things I Learned After America Learned About Me" blog post. Not bad, not bad at all for someone accused of such "thuggery!"
1. No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is. That's not mine. It belongs to Irvin Himmel. Somebody tweeted it at me after the NFC Championship Game. If I could pass a lesson on to the kids it would be this: Don't attack anybody. I shouldn't have attacked Michael Crabtree the way I did. You don't have to put anybody else down to make yourself bigger.
2. This stage is bigger than I thought it was. How much does America love football? My one little rant made it onto CNBC and CNN. I heard my name on The View. I got tweets in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Czech and Arabic. People identify with the struggle and the battle of a football game.
3. When to look away. I have always had a good sense of this, but there came a point in the aftermath of the NFC Championship game when I had to cut off the attention. The incident was so polarizing that you had to pick a side. You either hated it or you loved it. I looked at Twitter and I saw two guys having a conversation about me in Spanish; I was going to Google translate it, but I just decided to let it go.
4. I'm lucky to have detractors. You have to take a step back and understand that you're playing a game and the people who say disparaging things online and on television are trying to take you off that game. I've had my fair share of controversial moments and backlash and critics, and I've learned not to take it personally. That's the only way you can look at it. You have to accept it and not have a negative attitude. I appreciate them because they're so passionate as fans.
5. It's not all black and white. Race played a major part in how my behavior was received, but I think it went beyond that. Would the reaction have been the same if I was clean-cut, without the dreadlocks? Maybe if I looked more acceptable in conservative circles, my rant would have been understood as passion. These prejudices still play a factor in our views because it's human nature to quickly stereotype and label someone. We all have that.... FULL LIST BY RICHARD SHERMAN