Seattle Seahawks Player Richard Sherman Unexpectedly Taught Me a Lesson About Americans

1611296_10152176626947489_1597025279_oI, like millions of others, watched football this past Sunday.  It’s the NFL playoffs so you can expect things to get intense, especially when teams are one win away from the Super Bowl.

Well, at the conclusion of the Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers game, Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews attempted to interview Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.  Let’s just say – it was interesting.

My first impressions were, “Wow.”  I’m not really a huge fan of “me first” athletes who constantly talk about how great they are.  I was always taught that if you’re good at something, let others speak about you – don’t brag about yourself.  Now I’m not saying that one can’t be proud of their talents or gifts, but there’s a way to go about doing that with class.

But then it occurred to me this guy literally just finished possibly the most intense game of his life, against a hated rival, against a player he apparently had been going back and forth with all day (no telling what each man said to one another throughout the game) – then you want to grab him after making possibly the most important (and emotional) play of his entire life to ask him a few questions?

What the heck did we expect?  Granted, his overall words and reaction was definitely over the top (especially video of him making the “choke” sign to 49ers players) but he’s a football player, who really cares?

Well, apparently a lot of people.  While listening to Colin Cowherd (ESPN Radio host) yesterday morning, he discussed this topic and some of the emails he read off about it were stunning.

Parents appalled by Sherman’s choking gesture asking, “How am I supposed to explain this to my children who were watching?”  I absolutely loved Cowherd’s answer – “You tell them, ‘That’s not how you’re supposed to behave.’ That’s called being a parent.”

He’s right.  If you’re going to let your children watch football, be prepared to be a parent and explain some of the “adult situations” that might occur.  These guys are professional athletes playing a violent, often emotional game.  If you want your children to watch that (which there’s nothing wrong with that at all) don’t be upset if you have to explain an “adult situation” to your child.

He also alluded to the fact that Sherman’s actions were actually a great moment to teach a lesson to your children.  Teach them the difference between good sportsmanship and bad sportsmanship.  See these actions as a lesson to educate your children.  We can’t continue to mask our children from things in this world, pretending everything is sunshine and ice cream.

Then he poked at the hypocrisy of some of these parents who undoubtedly let their kids play games like Grand Theft Auto, or watch reality TV shows which depict disgusting behavior, yet want to suddenly act appalled by Sherman’s behavior.

I think he was right there as well.  Not that there’s anything wrong with parents letting their kids play violent games, or watching less than ideal for children television (personally I don’t have a problem with either), just be consistent about what behavior offends you and doesn’t.

It’s called being a parent.  Every parent can raise their kids how they want, just don’t be upset when being a parent requires some actual “parenting” every once in a while.

Another point he made was “racial coding” which I found interesting and also agreed with.  He read off several comments people had said when describing Sherman.  Many calling him a “thug” or “gangster.”  Others saying it was “typical” behavior – without specifying exactly who this was typical behavior for.

Let’s just do a small bit of background on Mr. Sherman, shall we?  He graduated second in his high school class, then went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Communications.

Now, is he cocky?  Probably.  Arrogant?  One could probably make that argument too.  But to call him a “thug” or “gangster” is a clear label some people are using because he’s black.

Sure, if he were white I’m sure there would still be plenty of negative comments about his actions, but I can’t see too many people throwing out the “thug” or “gangster” labels.  I’m not even saying those who called him these things were blatantly being racist.  I’ve seen people use terms such as these for stereotypes constantly because they’re negative reactions in our brain that we just do subconsciously sometimes.

I just found the reactions Mr. Cowherd was reading to be eye-opening.  You had parents chastising the behavior of a man they’ve never met by asking, “What am I supposed to say to my kids?” in some kind of insinuation that Richard Sherman (or the NFL for that matter) owes it to parents to make sure that everything on the field is always appropriate for children.  Then if it’s not they want to be outraged by it, instead of just doing some basic parenting by explaining to their children that what they saw was terrible sportsmanship and if they play sports they shouldn’t behave that way?

Again I’m not condoning his actions, and he has since apologized for them, but it’s ludicrous for people to act as if he owes it to them to be a role model for their children.  While I get pro athletes are often role models, it’s up to the parents of these children to explain why certain behavior is good and certain behavior is bad.

As for the racial coding, I fully believe it.  I can’t imagine a white individual, with a degree from Stanford, being called a “gangster” or a “thug” if he behaved that way.  Sure, maybe some would call him “cocky” or a “punk” or even “immature,” but I highly doubt near as many people would be labeling him words that are often ignorantly used to describe African-Americans because our society has tagged their race to these words.

While none of this stuff “shocked me,” I was taken back a little bit by some of the comments Collin Cowherd said he had gotten in emails and tweets.

Who would have ever thought a half-minute sports interview could have exposed parents trying to avoid basic parenting, hypocrisy within many parents as it relates to the content their children see and blatant racial coding that’s still extremely prevalent in our society.

Oh well, I guess it’s on to the Super Bowl.  Who do you got?

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Jay Diamond

    I’m to the left of everybody and I would have used the thug word if a white guy did exactly the same disgusting thing he did. He talked like a cheap hood. A lowlife.

    A-ROD is God compared to this guy. If it were my call, A-ROD would not be suspended one day, and this guy would sit out the Superbowl plus next season.


    • Ldy12

      Oh C’mon. Your words are far worse about a #1 player than Sherman’s words.He did not say anything wrong. A confident black man proclaiming he is the best, to hard for you and others to handle. Guess what…HE IS THE BEST and Crabtree is MEDIOCRE!!! This man/player has done more for people, disadvantaged than you would ever be able to imagine. PS…The thug was Crabtree. EDUCATE Yourself…

      • bmyall

        He also has history with Harbaugh, read about that!!! and also read about Crabtree last year dissing Sherman at a benefit….and Kaepernick keeping the ball away from Sherman during the WHOLE game. Scared of him and wanted perhaps a personal challenge on the last play…Guess what, Kaepernick lost!!! Yes Sherman was amped….there is history and rivalry here. .

      • Jay Diamond

        “” A confident black man proclaiming he is the best, to hard for you and others to handle.”

        Pathetic, frail, paranoid, infantile, cliche.

      • Pipercat

        Besides, the best asset the Seahawks had was Greg Roman…

      • white trash religious teaparty

        and accurate…………..
        see how the regressive white trash tea party views obama

      • MOB

        screaming MOB is best way to end an interview, dummy

    • AbbeyRoadkill

      OMG, you are dumb.

      • white trash religious teaparty

        not dumb: marinated in the hatred from loser regressive white trash “Christians” at places such as FOX “news” and the deep south

    • white trash religious teaparty

      that’s why U are not a sports commisioner

    • 1EdMeadows83

      Chris Christie has been called a thug by me and by others. I’m not sure but I think I’ve seen him on TV and I believe he is white.

  • Dorothy Dill

    I wonder what those same parents say about Chris Christie’s behavior when he is seen on the news yelling at and berating some poor defenseless school teacher just because she asked why he cut funding to schools. People now are calling him a bully, but I don’t recall anyone calling him a gangster or a thug.

    • AbbeyRoadkill

      Exactly, Christie is not black so people won’t call him a thug. Sherman is black so people will call him a thug even though he’s nowhere near being a thug, when compared to Christie.

      • Aloanstar

        Christie is a thug and a bully…no difference.

      • 1EdMeadows83

        Abbey, that is nonsense. I’ve heard Christie being called a thug and a bully quite often on talk shows. I’ve even called him a thug myself. If a man acts like a thug he deserves to be called a thug.,

    • Anthony Hunt

      What’s the difference between being called a thug or a bully? To me they are both derogatory terms. I don’t blame people, who don’t know him that well, for calling him a thug. He acted like an ass, for people who know nothing else about him, he played right into the stereotypes. Is it fair? I don’t know, who cares? He acted like an idiot in front of millions, he won’t be getting any ‘fair’ treatment. Its that simple. Move on

    • I have seen/heard/read of his being called a “thug,” but it usually has been clear from the context that this was a reference to New Jersey’s ostensible Mafia culture. In most of what I’ve read about Sherman, the remark, in context, was consciously or unconsciously racial.

      (Maybe, when/if Christie is indicted, we’ll start hearing “gangster” references.)

      I forget who it was, but someone once said that in America, you can be gifted, arrogant and black, but you can’t be all three at once. That’s why Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali upset a lot of white people even before his refusal to serve in Vietnam, and I suspect there’s at least a little of that in some of the negative responses to Sherman.

      • 1EdMeadows83

        So, if you call Sherman a thug it’s automatically racial? I’ve know of many white brutes who were and were called thugs.

  • nate

    I dont understand what was that dude so angry about anyway?

    • Doc Jones

      Dunno, but his adrenalin was obviously pretty high.

    • 1EdMeadows83

      Nate, he was angry because a guy he had just caused to lose a lot of money and his team to lose a trip to the Super Bowl didn’t feel too kindly toward him when he tried to shake his hand as a victor would to a victim. I don’t think I would have been felt like shaking his hand. “To the victor belongs the spoils” and Richard Sherman is certainly spoiled.

      • SteelersGirl

        Ummm…were we watching the same game? It was in response to Crabtree grabbing the face guard on his helmet and shoving his head after Sherman gave him a “good game” tap on the heiney (which is common).

      • 1EdMeadows83

        Oh I think we were watching the same game. Since you responded to my comment I assume you read it so I won’t repeat the reason Crabtree was upset. There is more to being a professional than knocking other men around on a football field. There is a responsibility to fans and children. Cam Newton, when he was Auburn’s quarterback, made a point of working with underprivileged kids in that small Alabama town. I never saw or heard of Joe Montana throwing a tantrum such as Sherman did.

  • TaxPaying American Voter

    This pro had more adrenaline coursing through his veins than most people will ever know. Good for him!! This took years.

  • Doc Jones

    Wonder how these parents explained the famous Janet Jackson “wardrobe” malfunction during her Superbowl “performance” ???

    • 1EdMeadows83

      I would much rather see Janet Jackson’s boob than the display by Sherman.

      • Doc Jones


  • Money over B!tche$

    MOB, what what

  • None_Ya

    I’m not at all impressed by his ability to graduate 2nd in his Compton, CA high school, nor am I impressed by a 3.9 GPA Stanford Communications degree he was probably given with minimal effort. Have you heard this moron speak? People seem to think the athletes who graduate from the elite schools are intelligent just because of the school they attended. Get real people – these guys are given preferential treatment and allowed to slide because they’re athletes. It’s not just Sherman… listen to the majority of these illiterate idiots who struggle to make a coherent sentence and tell me you honestly think they came by their college degrees by studying hard and applying themselves. I’m sure some of them are legitimate, but I think the majority are dumb jocks just like they were in high school and junior high.

    • Reader

      I listened to an interview he did after the fact and he seemed to speak rather well — and made a rather good point although it probably doen’t say much about our sport society. He said if an athlete is soft spoken and mild mannered no one remembers them (even if they are just as good a player and a great athlete on the field) as the loud assertive player. The interviewer also stated after the interview was over that the request for indorsement deals grew in numbers.

    • betteratlifethanyou

      you’re a fucking idiot

    • Bine646

      Yet he is a millionaire athlete who is top defensive corner in the league going to the championship game in his sport. He defied the odds coming out of the gutter that is compton- actually finished his degree at Stanford, let alone getting a 3.9. What have you done again, noneya? Dont worry we’ll wait

      • None_Ya

        Well, I graduated from college – on my own merit. I was commissioned as an officer in the Army through ROTC, I was selected for flight school, after which I was a medevac pilot. I had two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. So I guess it all depends on how you define success. I didn’t spend my life perfecting a GAME and I didn’t earn millions for it. All I did was serve my country and save lives.

      • Bine646

        And hate on someone who has- didnt you fight so every american could be free?

      • None_Ya

        Yep, which includes my freedom to “hate on” millionaire celebrities and athletes.

      • Bine646

        keep it up- makes you look realllllll good. Haters usually have a personal issue which makes them project it onto someone else- wonder what yours is?

    • TheGermanGuy

      I actually agree with None_Ya. There are a lot of studies done by high-level psychologists and neuroscientists that have found that as many as 20% of all NCAA D1 athletes are WAY below standard reading levels. Just do a Google search on “college athletes literacy rates”. Some of these men and women are recruited to the big schools purely because of their skills, and they’re usually given exemptions on a lot of the normal academic requirements.

  • Aloanstar

    I know plenty of “thugs” who are white. I think it is a bit over the top to associate the term thug to only blacks….or ever “gangster”, considering every gangster in history was white. I think Sherman was acting like a thug, but not because he was black, but just because he was threatening. I have seen people compare his interview to Ali…why? Ali had class and had to fight in the ring and out to prove himself. All Sherman had to do was be gracious and acknowledge it was a good game fought against an equally good adversary and he was proud of his team for making it to the SB…. not shock Erin or the other fans watching the game. I am really glad the guy is not on my team.

    • gwangung

      Did he kill someone? (cough New England cough)
      Did he rape someone? (cough Pittsburgh cough)
      Did he go ahead and headhunt 49ers to deliberately injure them (cough New Orleans cough)

      This is small potatoes. Bad sportsmanship is not good, but it’s SMALL POTATOES and it’s over the top to call him a thug.

      • Aloanstar

        Is the killer still on the Pats? No…he was released long ago.

      • Aloanstar

        And that was my point anyway….thugs come in all colors, it isn’t a term that should be singled out to blacks. Sherman is a thug, among many in the world, but one just the same.

    • None_Ya

      Richie Incognito… perfect example of a white thug.

  • William Bell

    What do these same people tell the Children about Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the right wing nuts with the disrespect they show the POTUS?

  • MLR

    First of all, I don’t think Sherman should of apologized to anybody except maybe his teammates but not to anybody else. He didn’t curse and he didn’t threaten anybody. He and Crabtree had this feud going and that was all. Second of all, I absolutely agree with you Allen about the hypocrisy of parents and some are too damn lazy to do some actual parenting. I’m more damn concerned about the constant Cialis and Axiron commercials than I am of Sherman’s actions, and now we got commercials going for a pill for postmenopausal women that run every five minutes it seems, and they run during the day when my kids are awake. My son was asking me the other day what they mean by “dryness” in the you know where. I don’t think I should have to be explaining to my son why older women get dry when he’s not even a teen yet. For goodness sake, these commercials really should be run at night when kids are asleep!

  • Rick Leergun

    Black people and wiggers are ruining this country