On Richard Sherman


Ernest Hemingway once said, “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Richard Sherman once said, “Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the league.”

I once said, “I don’t like Richard Sherman.”

I’ve never met him, but I loathe the man.  I watch him on Sunday’s, and while I should be awestruck by his incredible athletic ability, I find myself, instead, aghast at his arrogance and classlessness.

Let me be clear, Richard Sherman is better at football than I will ever be at anything.  Of this, there can be no doubt.  He is the best defensive back in the NFL.  I produce a radio show in the nation’s 65th largest media market and run a Web site of which no one’s ever heard.  It’s no contest.

But let this also be stated clearly, for it is every bit as factual: Richard Sherman is everything that we complain about in the modern athlete.

Bestowed upon him has been God’s greatest gift, ability.  And with that, and an inspiring amount of dedication and hard work on his part, possibility.  The chance to go to Stanford – one of the world’s leading institutional facilities – and receieve a world class education.  The chance to forego the daily grind of blue collar life for one paying him exponentially more and asking from him far less.  The chance to live, quite literally, the dream.

And instead of treating that gift and those possibilities with the respect they deserve, instead of carrying with him a sense of appreciation or, at the very least, self awareness, he’s answered with conceit and hostility.

A few weeks ago I lamented that the sports world today is “awash with self-loving, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting blowhards.”  Never has that been called into such specific relief as when the Seahawk corner took to the microphone seconds after his sparkling show of athleticism secured his team a trip to the Super Bowl and shouted about his being the world’s best, furious that anyone dare challenge him.  Congratulating himself, barely mentioning the other 52 teammates with which he shared the field.

This, as it tends to be with both Richard Sherman and athletes today, was all about him.  His moment, his recognition, his respect, and his name above all else.

Predictably, Sherman’s comments set off a media row, with battle lines drawn on either side.  Vignettes and missives were penned and fired off on either side complaining about his lack of sportsmanship, and excusing it because of the moment’s heat, or because of his considerable intellectual prowess, or condemning those condemning Sherman for failing to appreciate an athlete speaking his mind, giving something other than the P.C. answer.  And while those thoughts are as appropriate as the ones that skewed racist are disgusting and inexcusable, they don’t capture the real, significant truth of the situation.

This isn’t about the heat of the moment, this isn’t excused because of Sherman’s education – in reality, it’s made worse by it, this is how he uses his Stanford education? – and it’s not about the time some, not me, spend pining for a non P.C. answer.  It’s about this:

Richard Sherman is a jerk.  He’s a classless fool.  A self-loving, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting blowhard.

It’s about a guy with a tragic lack of self awareness and it’s about a guy who doesn’t deserve the respect he’s so eager to tell you he’s earned, that he’s so eager to demand.

Because those who deserve respect don’t talk about it.  They show it and let everything else speak for itself.

It’s about a villain, which is how too many athletes make it easy to peg them these days, by participating in the “bitter shouting match” that sport has become. One “played out through overused and overstressed voice-boxes, or the figurative ones of social media posts and garish celebrations of the routine.”

And by caring more about winning the shouting match than winning the game.

Joe Bianchino

Author: Joe Bianchino

Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_1045. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.

One comment on “On Richard Sherman

  1. Soooo…..I don’t see your point here? You throw away ALL other arguments for the single statement “Richard Sherman is a jerk. He’s a classless fool. A self-loving, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting blowhard.”. If you were trying to make a statement solely of your peronal views….then I guess I don’t necessarily agree. Also, i don’t think you should throw away other people’s efforts to argue an issue in favor of your personal statement. On the other hand, If you were trying to make an argument….SHOW ME THE FACTS!!!*.

    I’m a freely admitting sports know-nothing-at-all. I follow sports only casually and never participated in organized sports (ok, t-ball could have been referred to as “organized”, but when is the last time you saw a field full of organized 10 year olds?). But in my limited understanding, football players are trained from middle school on to treat the field as a battlefield. Know your opponent, know their weaknesses, show none of your own, make them fear you, throw them off balance. By the time a player joins the NFL I would assume that these are skills that they have honed to a science, and when they are on the field, nothing else matters.

    Looking at this incident, it seems the only thing Sherman can be accused of is not controlling his adrenaline as much as some other players may be able to, and bringing the viciousness which makes him such a good football player off the field for a few minutes, after making one of the biggest plays of his career. Bad choice? probably. Does that alone make him a bad person? I’d say ‘no’.

    If your goal is to make a persuasive argument to me, you’re going to need to rely on more than the single incident that took place on Sunday.

    *emphasis meant for corny movie allusion, not personal anger

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