Seahawks' Sherman Speaks Out, Tries To Move On

Jan 24, 2014

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is doing damage control. He sparked quite a controversy with his emotional outburst live on FOX-TV Sunday, mere minutes after he made the play that gave the Seahawks the win over the 49ers and sent them to the Super Bowl.

It's being called the rant heard around the world. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it was also refreshing.

'Took It Further Than Football'

Richard Sherman met with the media this week to try to set some things straight. He said he was sorry that his comments for overshadowed the great work of his team. And he was shocked by the racist remarks that quickly followed his outburst.

“A lot of people took it a little further than football," Sherman said.

Some people called him a thug.

“The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like the acceptable way of calling people the N-word nowadays,” Sherman said. “It’s like everyone else says the N-word, and then they say thug, and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s fine.’ That’s kind of where it takes me back, and it’s kind of disappointing because they know."

Thug Comments 'Completely Inappropriate'

During his press conference, Sherman mentioned the fight between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames on Saturday night: "They didn't even play hockey. They just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and I said 'Aw man, and I'm the thug? What's going on here? Jees.'" 

Sports commentator Art Thiel called that "a splendid answer."

"Richard did nothing remotely close to anything like that. He didn't even swear. And yet he got hundreds of bits of social media hate mail, calling him a thug, and worse. It was a completely inappropriate response to a guy's passionate outburst," Art said.

'Handling It Brilliantly'

Art thinks Sherman's damage control is working.

"As the press conference wore on, we saw how intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and aware Richard Sherman was. And I'm hoping that make a big difference for his sake, because I think there's a whole lot more man there than was shown on that interview," Art said.

"It was very clear that he believes that there's a place for being outspoken, passionate and dedicated to your craft in sports. But you don't see that much anymore. Richard is willing to take risks."

Can They Move On?

Art doesn't think all the media attention directed at Sherman will affect the team's preparation for the Super Bowl.

"I think Richard has put a lot of the character issues to rest," he said. "I think there's still going to be conversation, but I don't think it's going to be in the way of either the team or Sherman to get prepared for the game."

Listen for Art Thiel's live reports from Super Bowl XLVIII all next week at 8 a.m. during KPLU's Morning Edition. You can also find Art's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.