No one could have predicted the filthy residue last night’s NFC Championship game would leave…
Ironically, enough, on the day set aside to remember Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his life work.
In case you’re living in a cave, or just hate football… & social media… & regular media for that matter, let’s recap. The AFC and NFC Championship games were to determine the two teams headed to this year’s Super Bowl. Both Championships pitted rivals, although the AFC rivalry is a little more media-manipulated than a reflection of how the opposing quarterbacks really feel about each other. I doubt either loses much sleep over the other. Not to mention, the rivalry (if it is one) is just that, limited to the quarterbacks, not the teams. However, the NFC Championship game had division rivals facing off. A rivalry that spawned a Beats by Dre commercial that outraged the 12th Man (Seattle) and a billboard campaign Niners fans thought was cute (buying billboard space in Seattle, but not actually Seattle. About 20 miles outside of Seattle, if you’re counting).
After the AFC Championship game was decided, the NFC Championship game was left to figure out who would face Peyton Manning & the Broncos in the Super Bowl. This game was going to be a grudge match for the ages. The NFL even suggested the officials call fouls early, to keep both teams in check.
The game truly was a battle. A much more fitting Championship game than the AFC one, perhaps… though this particular Peyton Manning fan has no complaints. 🙂
The game came down to one play. San Francisco was down 6 points with less than a minute to play, and the ball in the red zone. On a would-be go-ahead-touchdown-pass, Richard Sherman comes up huge. HUGE. Blocks the ball from his receiver, and a teammate completes the interception in the end zone. Game over. Sure, technically there were 30 or so seconds left, but the Seahawks would run out the clock and win the game at home. Seattle is now Super Bowl bound for the 2nd time in their franchise history. And we have the two #1 seeds facing off in the Super Bowl, the #1 offense vs. the #1 defense.
But that’s not where the story ends. Yes, the #1 defense’s secondary, nicknamed LOB (Legion of Boom) had the play to win the game. But it was the post-game interview that would be heard round the world. Adrenaline. Excitement. You name it. Surrounded by the loudest stadium of fans in the NFL. While being interviewed, Richard Sherman, had some words of wisdom; namely, be prepared if you’re going to challenge the best. And also, don’t talk about him. Ever. (oops!!??)
It doesn’t take a Journalism 101 student to tell us, if the interviewee gives you a loaded statement like that, of course you want to follow it up with, “Who’s talking about you?” And, most of us saw, his very, very candid answer.
Now, the thing is, most professional sports come with some given trash talk. To know Richard Sherman is to know his motto, U MAD BRO?* We know the players do it. And, honestly, we would look pretty foolish doing it if they didn’t do it too. I was watching the game in a sea of Niners fans… wearing my blue… happily digesting all of the trash talk from the crowd for the entire first half. I knew the game was far from over. And on that given Sunday, my “we’ll see…” proved right at the end of the game. But that was just me, at the ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney… not a player in one of the biggest games of my career. Not a player who was being taunted all game. Not a player who’s been showed continual disrespect, on and off the field, by the-player-who-would-be-named-later.
Origin of U MAD BRO?* came from he & Tom Brady talking trash back and forth to each other during a game. Nature of the beast.
What is it about Sherman’s comments that everyone is so enraged about?
He’s not disrespecting someone’s mom or wife, like Kevin Garnett has done.
Are people mad that he said he was the BEST???
His stats since entering the league:
1st in picks (20)
1st in passes defended (61)
1st in Opposing QB Rtg. when targeted (39.4)
Was it because he was yelling??
…… & clearly out of breath?
…… in the LOUDEST stadium in the NFL during the regular season, yet alone after winning a trip to the Super Bowl.
Did you not like that he called the guy out, directly?
…… after being asked by the reporter?
Him trying to congratulate the guy for a good game… twice… before the interview?
…… & being ignored first, then shoved in the face?
Was it that he made it about himself & not his team?
…… when he was asked, specifically, “The final play, take me through it.”
…… & do you feel differently, now that he’s apologized for taking the spotlight off the team?!
Or are you mad, simply, because he’s not wearing your team’s jersey?
In light of today being Martin Luther King Day, I feel some sort of way with everyone’s responses to Richard’s outburst last night. That’s not to say I am ONLY bothered by these outbursts because it is MLK Day, but rather, it reinforces something very personal for me. After all, Dr. King’s dream was that people wouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.
Again, in case you missed it, here are some of the unfathomable, detestable things people took to Twitter to say about Sherman last night, as reported by different news and media outlets:
“Lol don’t mess with Richard Sherman, he will go bananas. Guys a fricken jungle monkey.”
“Fu** u richard sherman u high paid ni**er!”
“Sherman’s an ignorant ape”
“Sherman – typical ni**er#douchebag”
“every italian 100% hates sherman just because of that…. typical gorilla ni**er”
“Richard Sherman deserves to get shot in the fu**ing head. Disrespectful ni**er.”
“Someone needs to introduce Richard Sherman to George Zimmerman. #ThugLifeOver”
“Richard Sherman. What a role model for today’s Taliban youth.”
“…let’s hope that Manning makes him look like a dope peddling monkey that he is.”
Somehow, I find it hard to believe THAT was the dream Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of.
Sherman being called a TERRORIST… a drug dealing thug… a monkey/gorilla/ape… & then some. Those hateful words left me sick reading them, let alone having to type them. Please tell me how his interview was worse than any of these comments. PLEASE. Or tell me what in his interview justifies death threats. DEATH THREATS!!!!! I mean. Sickens me. That’s not the dream. Not King’s dream. Not Sherman’s dream. Certainly not my dream.
There were Sherman supporters, as well, and this light-hearted gem (while poignantly TRUE) was my favorite!!
“People need to chill out on Richard Sherman. I’ve seen people go more HAM after winning a round of Catch Phrase & I didn’t judge their character.”
No one is perfect… as Jesus said, it is the person without sin who can cast the first stone. We also cannot judge without the full context of the situation. God forbid we be the recipients of being judged for something we did or said out of context. We all have our moments… especially with the things we are passionate about.
As I started my day, listening to I have a Dream, I couldn’t help but think. Some days, I am grateful for how far we’ve come. Some, like today, I’m reminded of how far we have to go. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” While this NFL star’s rant may seem trivial to you, the hateful and racist backlash he received matters. It matters to me.
After all, it was King who also said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
We still have a long way to go when a football game… and the interview afterwards… shows us the content of character. Not of the player in question….. but the vile — possibly alcohol-induced — rants of the people. Although Sherman later apologized, it would be interesting to see if there was a change of heart in the (sobering) light of day for these others.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait.
I cannot wait until they day we can say, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last” and mean it.