The Sherman Effect: The Proof Is In The Pudding 

Richard Sherman.

If you’ve had enough, or aren’t interested in yet another Sherm discussion, feel free to take a pass on this blog post.  Countless media outlets have covered some angle relating to the Seattle Seahawks cornerback’s on-field interview with Erin Andrews following the NFC Championship game over the last several days, so I fully intended on staying out of the cluster.  Why bother, right?

Well, I now feel compelled to jump in on the action for two reasons. 

A) new “evidence” has emerged as to what exactly went on between Sherman and 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree on the last play of the NFC Championship game, prompting Sherm’s jacked-up mini-rant, and

B) the vocabulary used to describe Sherman says a lot about our country in general and specifically, certain individuals who used such words.  

The above video comes to us care of NFL Films and NFL Network.  As you know, NFL Films places microphones on coaches and players during games throughout the season, creating a “Sound FX” segment that gives viewers a great insight as to what really went down between the hash marks.  

If you start 40 seconds into the video above, you’ll see that Sherman approaches Crabtree after the game-ending play, pats him on the butt and says, “hell of a game.”  Crabtree’s response was to shove his hand in Sherman’s face.  

Someone in Crabtree’s corner knows a hell of a lot about excitedly greeting an opponent after you’ve beat them.  Remember when 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh gave then-Lions head coach Jim Schwartz a bit of an aggressive good-game-smack on the chest back in 2011?  If your memory of the ensuing brawl is a bit fuzzy click this link to watch the video.

Many, many things were said about Harbaugh and Schwartz after that debacle, but one word I don’t recall hearing about either coach was “thug.”  

Sherman, on the other hand, has been absolutely hammered for his excited utterance into the lens of a Fox camera within seconds of earning his first trip to the Super Bowl (to be played against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2).  

Thug, as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a violent criminal,” and “a brutal ruffian or assassin.”  

Deadspin posted a story showing usage of the word “thug” on television went through the roof on Monday, following the NFC title game Sunday evening.  The article even broke down usage of the word by television market.  In the least surprising part of the story, Boston led the nation in “thug” chatter, with WEEI radio’s good’ol boys Dennis & Callahan dropping a thug-bomb assault on their listeners during a discussion about Sherman.   Those dudes…SMH.  

So…. Harbaugh and Schwartz are jerks, loud mouths, out of control, etc.  Sherman is a thug (which by definition, is a murderer).  Why the distinction?

Common sense tells us that two of these things are not like the other.  The aforementioned coaches are white, and Sherman is black.  It’s a fairly simple (and upsetting) truth. 

Richard Sherman agrees with that assessment and pointed out the hypocrisy in a recent press conference. 

Sherman said that some folks are now using “thug” as a substitute for the N-word, and by golly, he’s right!  When Sherman retires from football, he should immediately jump into the sports media business because he’s entertaining, intelligent, and comes up with great talking points.  

"There was a hockey game [Flames vs. Canucks] where they didn’t even play hockey,” Sherman said on the subject of his new “thug” label during the press conference.

"They just threw the puck aside and started fighting.  I saw that, and said, ‘Oh man, I’m the thug? What’s going on here?’"

Sadly, I think we all know the answer.  

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The sports world suffered a twitter-breaking case of shock and awe today with Deadspin’s piece detailing what appears to be the phony story concocted about the late girlfriend of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o.  While the American public and the media sure felt duped, one of Te’o’s teammates wasn’t surprised, telling PepperOnSports.com that the players on the Fighting Irish football team smelled something fishy back in September 2012. 

The Notre Dame football player, who asked for anonymity, told Pepper On Sports, “No we all knew he had only seen her once.  But when the media was saying how he went through both deaths we knew,”  said the source, referring to the back-to-back deaths of Te’o’s grandmother and girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who allegedly died of Leukemia. 

In defense of the Heisman Trophy candidate, the source said he believes the lie may have indeed started with somebody duping Te’o using a phony twitter account, and eventually, faking their own death.

Early in my conversation with the source, the Notre Dame player said, “He lied, but the media blew it up.”  In response to my follow-up question asking if the source thought that Te’o kept the story going because of the media attention, the player replied, “Yeah.  Right after the Michigan [State] game.  He should have never brought her in the media. His grandma passing was enough.” 

Notre Dame’s victory over Michigan State and subsequent media explosion appears to have been the turning point for the source and many of his teammates. 

The source said while the players discussed their suspicions amongst themselves, they never confronted Te’o.

“We would never bring it up.  But we would look at him when he would get all emotional during media about his girl,” the player said.

When asked if he thought Te’o was a good actor, the player replied, “Very good.”