At this point, you know what Richard Sherman said following the Seattle Seahawks NFC Championship win over the San Francisco 49ers. If not, you can go ahead and watch it here. Form an opinion, then come back and we'll discuss it.
After his postgame interview on the field, Richard Sherman was called classless. He was called a thug. He was called just about everything he could be called.
Let's talk about who Richard Sherman is for a moment, to provide context. Here's a guy who grew up in Compton, attending Compton Dominguez High School, before getting into Stanford. He played under Jim Harbaugh, and there's a lot of bad blood there. He also came back to start his masters in his final year of eligibility.
And then he slipped in the 2011 draft. And he kept slipping. Sherman believes Harbaugh had a role in that -- he believes Harbaugh was trashing him ahead of the draft. Sherman was taken in the fifth round by the Seahawks, fit the system well, and has become one of the best -- if not the best -- cornerbacks in the league. Not because he's athletic, and he'll tell you that's not it, but because he works his ass off.
Yes, Sherman talks. Just about everyone in the league talks, whether most fans notice it or not. Sherman just happens to be unabashed about his trash talk. He's not cussing on television or dropping dirty language, but he's talking.
This, of course, has led many to label Sherman as cocky, arrogant, brash, classless, a man exhibiting thug behavior. Because what one sees for a few minutes on Sunday makes the man.
That's not what Sherman is, though. Read this (go ahead and do it, then come back). Watch this, too.
And then watch this, too.
Richard Sherman can be an asshole. He'll talk and be outspoken. And he'll back it up, too. That's what he does.
The NFL would be better with more Richard Shermans. You hate him because he's not yours. You hate him because he plays for someone else, and would love him if he belonged to your team. He's got personality and skill and the ability to shut down a third of the field every single week. He makes you mad. He makes opponents mad.
But let's not act like some talk is the worst thing in the world. Let's not act like football is a classy game, or that players should always carry themselves with class. Class is bullshit.
We're talking about a game where grown men are trying to knock each other's blocks off. We're talking about a game where players are risking life and limb, and brain function, every week. And some talk -- either during the game or after -- is the tipping point? Come on.
In the world of professional football, a testosterone-filled world, Richard Sherman's words should never be the tipping point. He's not saying anything particularly jarring. He called Crabtree mediocre and said you better come with something better if you want to beat his team -- a team filled with a bunch of scrappy players like him.
This is who Richard Sherman is. He's a smart guy who made it out, went to Stanford, and is now one of the best players in the NFL. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and probably always will. When he feels disrespected, he makes plays and then lets everyone know he's not one to mess with.
But let's keep criticizing the man, and labeling him, for 30 seconds immediately following a huge play in the biggest game of his life. That sounds rational.