Richard Sherman is exactly what every football fan and every reporter say they want: an athlete who’s good and smart and says exactly what he’s thinking and doesn’t care who’s offended by his truth.
Please spare us, we plead, from the postgame parting non-shot: “I want to give the other team the credit they deserve” and “I just want to thank my savior and my teammates.”
Sherman made the game-winning play in the NFC Championship, twisting his long body and leaping to tip a pass headed for Michael Crabtree. And he was not about to give credit to anybody or to thank anyone but himself.
When Erin Andrews, radiantly Nordic on-field reporter for FOX Sports, asked him for his recollection of the play, he trash-talked like a wrestler or boxer hyping his next appearance.
“When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree,” he said, “that’s the result you’re gonna get. . . . Don’t you be talking about me. Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’ll shut it real quick.”
Andrews admitted she was “frightened” by the raging Seahawk; she looked relieved when she was directed by the studio to end the interview when not many viewers were changing channels.
FOX directors feared Sherman might let loose a profanity or two, and they must not have thought to put him on 4-sec delay.
So a media circus was born, along with a twitter war, heading into the two weeks of Super Bowl hype.
Why did Sherman speak so loathingly of Crabtree? First, because he refused to acknowledge Sherman’s ability, which he has a need to see reaffirmed at every opportunity. When asked if Sherman is “the best cornerback in the league,” Crabtree had said, “I don’t think so. I don’t know nothing about the best cornerbacks in the league, I just know teams.”
Sherman managed to take great umbrage in that vacuous remark.
And there was also an off-season incident, a social meeting between the two athletes that turned awkwardly antisocial. So for reasons other than how he plays the game, Sherman does not like Crabtree.
Nor does he like Crabtree’s coach, Jim Harbaugh, who was Sherman’s coach at Stanford. Sherman felt Harbaugh didn’t talk him up enough, didn’t give him enough credit for being the best cornerback in the country. How else to explain how Sherman was not drafted until the fifth round?
As for Crabtree not showing enough respect for Sherman, former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia found it inexcusable that a starting receiver would not study video of the best cornerbacks in the league. Appearing on NFL Network, Garcia said, “As a receiver you should know who the best corners are in the league. You study corners.”
But Sherman was widely criticized for calling Crabtree a ”sorry” receiver when Harbaugh insists he has “the best hands in the league.”
The feud was picked up on Twitter. @KingCrab15: “Film don’t lie. @nflnetwork@espn pull up the tape of that game and show me where this guy is the best.”
@RSherman_25: “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.”
Sherman later issued an apology “for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the football game and my teammates.”
Attracting attention – publicizing the Richard Sherman brand — was precisely what he was trying to do, contends ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser (Pardon the Interruption).
“Richard Sherman went to Stanford. He’s a bright guy. . . . So he says to himself, ‘I’m going to the Super Bowl, and there’s gonna be a lot of people there with cameras and pens.
“’And they’re all gonna go to Peyton Manning. But Peyton Manning’s not gonna give ‘em much. Cause he never has. . . . Come around. Make me a star.’”
So Sherman will be very available, presentable and quotable.