January 21, 2014 in Sports

All for the show!

Sherman gives fans a different slant, but what’s the difference?
By Correspondent
 
Associated Press photo

Richard Sherman was at center stage both during and after the Seahawks beat the 49ers in the NFC championship game Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

I don’t know if Richard Sherman has any more credibility with his boasts than the Sherminator had with his. I just know…

It’s all box office.

Also, I’m betting that more than one of the fine Americans who took to Twitter, Facebook, talk radio and barstool to vilify Sherman for his post-NFC championship game wig-out settled back onto the couch 24 hours later, switched on “Monday Night Raw” and high-fived his young sons when Randy Orton went all Sherm over WWE politics.

That’s right, I’m equating the NFL with pro wrestling because …

It’s all box office.

OK, not fair.

No one who witnessed one of the 700 replays of San Francisco uber linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s knee going 90 degrees in a direction it shouldn’t would dare suggest what the 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks engaged in Sunday is a cartoon of the rasslin’ variety.

And while I’d like to disclaim that I didn’t much care for the Seahawks cornerback’s braying myself, that would be stretching the truth.

The shorter truth is, I didn’t much care. Period.

Same thing back when Tim Tebow was giving it the knee-on-ground- fist-to-the-forehead after every unlikely touchdown. I didn’t much care for it – but mostly, I didn’t much care.

Whatever players have to do to protect their psyches, find strength, mitigate their fears, deflate anxiety, stoke their inner furnace or marshal resolve for the most brutal of athletic endeavors there is – physically and emotionally – OK, as long as criminal charges don’t become part of the equation.

(Well, perhaps not anything in pill or needle form, because that’s Against The Rules. Though it’s difficult to work up much of a froth about that anymore, either.)

Even among Seahawks fans, mileage will vary over Sherman’s steam-valve TV rant after Seattle’s 23-17 victory which started with, “I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like (Michael) Crabtree, that’s the result you are going to get! Don’t you even talk about me!”

It was at this point that Fox’s Erin Andrews threw herself on the railroad tracks and asked, “Who was talking about you?”

“Crabtree!” Sherman raged. “Don’t open your mouth about the best or I’m going to shut it for you real quick!”

The Seahawks loyalists who winced at this bit of theatre would rather have seen something a lot less “me” and a little more “we” in the wake of a spectacular game that sent their heroes to the Super Bowl.

The rest of Sherman’s vituperative critics merely balled up their collective hate in the word “thug” with all its ugly racial implications and called it good, ignoring the irony of why they could keep cracking open beers and not have to worry about going to work with a hangover the next day.

Within hours, Sherman had thought better of his fit and issued sorrys of varying potency, with the encouragement and blessing of coach Pete Carroll.

It seemed unnecessary for the crime of being candid and real – but, hey, it never hurts to apologize.

Sherman did muster considerable support from people who insisted it’s unreasonable to expect men engaged in a high-testosterone enterprise to shut off that spigot and play nice seconds after time runs out, except we’ve seen guys do that time and again.

The question is, since when did the world become one size fits all?

If Sherman’s act draws a deeper line in the sand on the battlefield of behaviors, swell. Let those who need their villains have one. And let those of us who need funny, engaging and bright minds and mouths like Richard Sherman’s have them, and deal with whatever excesses there are as we see fit.

Muzzle Richard Sherman and we all lose.

Hey, at least he didn’t hit Andrews with, “What kind of question was that?” Or leave her holding the microphone as he stormed off without speaking.

Just one request: can we not make it a question of “class.”

As in New England quarterback Tom Brady’s take on the episode: “I approach the game and I have respect for my opponent. That’s the way our team always plays and we win with graciousness. When we lose, we can do better. Some teams don’t always do that, that’s not their program.”

Class. Right.

Or in words we can all understand, “I’m better than that.”

No raging, out of control ego in that bit of posturing.

In the meantime, the dull week before the silly week before the Super Bowl now has its requisite grist. Even the NFL has to be loving that because as we know …

It’s all box office.


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