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Column: Richard Sherman: Evil good guy

By Tim Fontenault
On January 21, 2014

   After the Seattle Seahawks' come-from-behind victory against the San Francisco 49ers propelled them into the Super Bowl XLVIII, Richard Sherman grabbed the mic.
   "I'm the best corner in the game," Sherman screamed at Fox Sports' Erin Andrews immediately after the game. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like [49ers wide receiver Michael] Crabtree, that's the result you going to get."
   Andrews stood there stunned, clearly taken off guard by one of the league's most outspoken players. Immediately, Sherman became a sensation on social media, be it for better or worse.
   There were tweets along the lines of, "Richard Sherman just won the postgame interview." But others were not so kind. There were racial slurs and threats thrown at Sherman, and Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander even said that if Sherman were a baseball player he would get a "high and tight fastball."
   Sherman addressed such comments, as well as his altercation with Crabtree in a column he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
   "I ran over to Crabtree to shake his hand but he ignored me," Sherman said in his column, "To those who would call me a thug or worse...," which ran online Monday morning. "I patted him, stuck out my hand and said, 'Good game, good game.' That's when he shoved my face, and that's when I went off."
   As if his postgame rant was not enough, Sherman argues against the notion that Crabtree is one of the 20 best receivers in football. He notes that it took Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon 14 games to double what Crabtree can do in a season, and he did so with Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell at quarterback.
   He can sound like an arrogant jerk with comments like that, and he has certainly talked a lot of smack in the past (right Tom Brady?). But there is a lot to respect about Sherman, and especially after reading his column, I have a lot of respect for the league's best cornerback.
   Yes, he is the best cornerback in the game, not just because he says so, but eight interceptions speak for themselves. But instead of taking all the credit for himself, he says that he is made the best because he is part of a great secondary that is made great by an even better front seven, creating pressure with the pass rush and forcing quarterbacks into difficult throws into coverage. Good to know that there is at least one seemingly cocky, all-that athlete out there who understands the concept of a team.
   And if you think Sherman was the biggest jerk at CenturyLink Field Sunday, you were not paying attention when Navorro Bowman was carted off the field after a gruesome leg injury that the 49ers fear involves damage to both his ACL and MCL.
   As Bowman was carted off the field, some Seahawks fans threw popcorn at him. That actually happened. It sounds ridiculous that people can be so sick, but it actually happened.
   Sherman was not phased by the racial comments, saying, "A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of a sheep," via Twitter. But when a player is blatantly disrespected in the manner that Bowman was, he is not going to let it slide, even when the perpetrators are fans of his team.
   "That's as low as it gets," Sherman wrote in his column. "I'm sure whoever did this is in a small minority of fans, because I don't think that kind of action is an accurate representation of the character of the 12th man.
"Navorro Bowman is a great player who plays the game the right way. When he went down, I dropped to a knee and prayed for him. He deserves better than having food thrown at him as he's carted off a field. All players deserve better than that."
I have a lot of respect for Sherman, regardless of what he has said or done. He has worked hard to get to where he is. From a young boy from Compton with a dream to a Stanford graduate with a goal, Sherman has fought his way to the top of the NFL, and now that he has the best view, standing at the summit as one of the elite players, he is going to shout down at those below him, that if they want to get there, they have to go through him.
I love athletes that do not hold back the truth. What is the crime in believing that you are the best, especially when it is hard for anyone to disagree with you?
But the best part about Sherman was demonstrated in his column. He is not all about himself. He comes off as one of the most disrespectful players in the game, but he is as respectful and respectable as they come.
If I am rooting for anyone in the Super Bowl, it is the Seahawks, and more accurately, it is Richard Sherman.

Follow Tim on Twitter @Tim_Fontenault 

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