The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Richard Sherman and Outrage in the NFL

Following the NFL requires an unhealthy amount of ignorance. Focus on what happens between the sidelines and one’s mind immediately turns to the dozens of micro-concussions occurring on every drive. Watch the broadcast and one cannot avoid the advertisements and shots of cheerleaders that cultivates the most misogynistic culture out of all the major sports.

So, in the midst of all this extreme moral corruption, let’s all spend some time yelling about Richard Sherman! The NFL’s finest defensive back decided to talk some trash about Michael Crabtree a couple decibels too loud in a post-game interview with Erin Andrews and now he’s football’s foremost loose cannon. Sports talk radio personalities and online columnists discuss Sherman with more animosity than they ever did Ray Lewis (a man strongly linked to a 2000 homicide, but hey what an emotional leader!).

I’m not going to defend Sherman as a human being because that’s been done hundreds of times over. The “Stanford via Compton” angle speaks volumes about his determination, but I urge sports writers to stop simply using “he went to Stanford” as a defense of his actions. I struggle to see the controversy. The actual content of what he said offended absolutely no one. He called another professional athlete “sorry” and promoted his own ability. The general complaint seemed to be the manner in which he said it, but I still fail to see the significance of an NFL star raising his voice during a post-game interview.

So why have Sherman’s antics become a source of such outrage for sports writers and active tweeters? First off, he added intrigue to the most frigid tradition in sports, the post-game interview. The process never wavers from the athlete calmly saying absolutely nothing of substance to the prompt “what happened in that last quarter/period/inning?” Caught up in this perpetual state of post-game boredom, fans and pundits were so shocked by this display of emotion that they almost uniformly reacted negatively, though few were able to articulate to what they objected.

The most common objection to Sherman’s interview and choking gesture was that he was acting “unsportsmanlike” or “classless.” Sportsmanship is developing into quite a fascinating concept in the NFL. As evidence mounts that the game is gladiatorial like never before, fans find it acceptable to watch multiple players leave the field with concussion-like symptoms every game. Yet they label a competitor speaking poorly of his opponent as an unforgivable affront to the beautiful game.

After Sherman spends four quarters sacrificing his health for our entertainment, I’m willing to afford him the right to express a little emotion in the aftermath. Being a moral purist over the way NFL players should conduct themselves is hypocritical. Watching a man yell about his own talents wouldn’t crack the top ten of most morally reprehensible moments broadcast over a three hour game.

I’m a shameless football fan who still watches every meaningful game despite my acknowledgement of these quandaries. So it’s just as hypocritical for me to write this article as it is for sports writers to decry Sherman’s lack of class. Nevertheless, my hope is that writers and fans alike can bury this phony lingering concept of sportsmanship. Sherman’s words hurt no one assuming that Michael Crabtree will somehow be able to move on. Professional football presents enough issues for us to stop manufacturing ones.

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