Not a jerk, but acting like one
Is everybody sick of Richard Sherman yet?
Ha. Thought so.
Too bad we still have 12 more days to fill before the Super Bowl.
I’ve been trying to figure out why my level of outrage over his outrageous post-game behavior and big mouth at the NFC championship game on Sunday is so low, and here’s what I settled on:
I’m not a fan of showboating or poor sportsmanship, but I love the NFL and realize that some stupid stuff comes with the territory. It’s as simple as that.
I also believe that, to some degree, my view of his actions has been swallowed up in the dizzying blizzard of reaction. It has been something to behold.
There are so many different angles — supportive and brutally hateful — that I have to keep reminding myself what exactly the Seahawks cornerback did at the end of Seattle’s win over the 49ers.
Well, it was pretty cheap and lame, as everyone knows. Without rehashing the whole sequence ad nauseum, I particularly hated the choke signal and his referring to Michael Crabtree as “sorry.”
It’s easy to talk big in the immediate aftermath about an opponent whose season is over, and kicking someone when they’re down brings you even lower than that.
Here’s the thing: if you’re going to be a fan of the NFL, part of the contract is that you have to learn to live with stuff like this.
I’m not saying you have to like it. I’m not saying I like it. But you have to live with it, because it’s not going away.
Despite accusations that “NFL” stands for “No Fun League” because of silly tuck-your-shirt rules designed only to preserve corporate brand integrity — Protect the Shield! — the NFL still at its core is a vehicle for entertainment.
The actual play on the field has always been plenty enough for me to stay engaged. I don’t need all the other stuff, the posing and attention-seeking self-aggrandizement.
These guys are performing on a higher plane than most of us can comprehend. Exhibit A is the play Sherman himself made while tipping the pass away from Crabtree to teammate Malcolm Smith for the game-clinching interception.
But I’m not everybody.
Many embrace the NFL’s kinship with the pro wrestling mentality of trash-talking and cartoonish behavior. If you have any doubt that that’s true, go to a game sometime and spend a few hours at the tailgate party. Alcohol-fueled tribalism at its finest.
And I’m saying this as someone who still likes to go to NFL games.
The media frequently complain about athletes and coaches supplying them only with dreadfully boring cliches, but somehow, we get all bent out of shape the moment somebody Hulkifies his way out of that box, like Sherman did in spectacular fashion.
Sherman doesn’t get a pass for what he did just because he’s a Stanford graduate from Compton, Calif., who runs a well-regarded charitable foundation and has a clean record.
He’s not a jerk, he just acted like one.
Meanwhile, those in favor of full-out flamethrower condemnation should realize that, as a communications major, he knows how to play the PR game at least as well as he does football. And that’s integral to the success of the NFL, which would never openly support his freak show on Sunday, but probably isn’t fretting all that much about it at league headquarters, either.