National Football League (NFL) cornerback Richard Sherman, who last week won the Superbowl with the Seattle Seahawks, has undeservedly received a bad reputation inside and outside of the football community due to media manipulation. Despite negative coverage and influence by the media, Sherman’s past and present prove that he is not a “thug.”
At the end of the Super Bowl qualifying game in which Sherman’s Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers, Sherman offered congratulations to the 49ers’ Michael Crabtree. Crabtree responded by shoving him in the face. After responding to that with a choking gesture, Sherman went on insult Crabtree during an energetic and boastful post-game interview.
Once word about the game got out, people started to tweet negatively about Richard Sherman. Many people used the term “thug,” which Sherman decried as being racially offensive.
In a press conference, Sherman stated, “It seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the ‘n-word’ nowadays.”
According to New Oxford American Dictionary, the word “thug” refers to a violent person or criminal. Is Richard Sherman a criminal for being angry after being shoved in the face?
Sure, his irate conduct during the interview may have been out of hand, but he acknowledges that his words were “misdirected and immature. But the real “thug” in the situation is the instigator of the conflict. In addition, Sherman has pointed out that it’s important for critics to “understand… the passion of the moment.”
The rumors and wrongful assessment of Sherman’s present character are not aligned with his past. Sherman, who spent his childhood and high school years in Compton as the son of a garbageman and a social worker, is known as being a considerate, caring, and open-minded teammate. He graduated from his high school to attend Stanford University, where he excelled not only in football, but also academics.
Even though he isn’t one of the highly paid stars of the league yet, Sherman has still used his money to start a charity, called “Blanket Coverage.” The organization is dedicated to ensuring that inner-city kids are able to attend college.
Falsely labeling Sherman as a “thug” based on this one incident in the heat of a moment is simply unfair. And not only is he being judged unfairly in the media for misconduct that was provoked by someone else, he has also been unfairly treated by the NFL. Michael Crabtree was clearly the instigator of the conflict, yet the NFL fined Richard $7,875 for “taunting” and “unsportsmanship-like behavior.” Sherman was the sole player who was fined in the game.
Sherman ought to be commended, not criticized. His mistakes do not accurately depict the person he is. Richard Sherman is not a “thug,” but rather an individual who wishes to promote tolerance and sportsmanship in society.
In an op-ed written for Sports Illustrated after the event, Sherman stated, “It was just a small part of the person I am.”