By John Boyle
Richard Sherman has become the story this week in the NFL, and even beyond. CNN and Fox News both cut live to his press conference Wednesday, all over a 30-second rant in the moments after Sunday’s NFC championship game, as well as the press conference that followed.
If you’re one of the people who formed an opinion of Sherman based just on that (and I’m guessing there’s a lot more of those outside of this area than those who read this blog), I strongly recommend watching his press conference in its entirety, or at least reading some highlights below.
On the ammount of attention on him the last few days: “It is what it is. Things like that happened, and you deal with the consequences of it, you deal with people’s opinions. I’ve come from a place where it’s all adversity, so what’s a little bit more? What’s a little bit more of people telling what you can’t do, what you’re not going to do, what you’ve done. It’s always a little bit more of that, but it’s fine to me.”
“I’m really surprised by that. If I’d have known it was going to blow up like that, I probably would have approached it differently, just in terms of the way it took away from my teammates’ great games. Kam Chancellor played a fantastic football game, had an interception, had huge plays in the game and played almost a perfect game. Marshawn ran for 100-yards plus, had a great touchdown run, Bobby had 15 tackles. So many people played great games that you’d think the story would be about them, so that’s the only thing I feel kind of regretful about.”
Are you more surprised by backlash or support that followed? “The backlash, because the support came after the backlash. Everybody was surprised by it, I was a little surprised by it. We’re talking about football here, and a lot of people took it a little farther than football. I guess some people showed how far we’ve really come in this day and age. It was kind of profound what happened, people’s opinions and things of that nature. Because I was on the football field showing passion. Maybe it was misdirected, maybe things were immature, things could have been worded better, but this is on a football field. I wasn’t committing any crimes, I wasn’t doing anything illegal, I was showing passion after a football game. I didn’t have time to contemplated, ‘What am I going to say?’ But the people behind computer screens who were typing, they had all the time in the world to contemplate everything they were going to say and articulate it exactly like they wanted to, and some of it I’m sure they were pretty embarrassed about.”
Can getting to the Super Bowl help inspire people in your home town of Compton, Calif? “I hope so. I really hope it resonates a little more with them. Because there’s no limits to what you can do. regardless of how bizarre my story gets, especially at times like this, it’s still remarkable how a kid from Compton, a kid from humble beginnings—the story can resonate for any kid coming from humble beginnings, or whatever beginnings you come from, just understand that your circumstances don’t dictate your future. You’re circumstances don’t control your limits. You’re limitless, you’re a limitless person.”
On the idea that some are calling this Super Bowl a battle of virtuous vs. villains? “That’s hilarious. Because anytime you label Russell Wilson a villain, it’s gotta be a joke, right?”
Do you believes you’re a villain? “No I don’t. I don’t think I’m a villain. I always say the old cliché, don’t judge a book by its cover, but they’re judging a book by its cover, they’re judging me off of the football field, on the football during a game, right after a game, and they’re not judging me off of who I am. Now if I had got arrested 10 times, or committed all of these crimes, or got suspended for fighting off of the field and all of that, then I could accept being a villain, but I’ve done nothing villainous.”
On why it bothers him to be called a thug: “It seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays. It’s like everyone else says the N-word, and then they say thug and they’re like ‘oh that’s fine.’ That’s where it kind of takes me aback, and it’s kind of disappointing because they know. What’s the definition of a thug really? Can a guy on a football field just talking to people—maybe I’m talking loudly and talking like I’m not supposed to—but there was a hockey game where they didn’t even play hockey, they just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and said, ‘ah man, I’m the thug? What’s going on here? Jeez.’ So I’m really disappointed in being called a thug.”
On growing up in Compton: “It really gave me a great base to understand that when you’re doing something, when you’re going out there and playing the game and doing that, that you didn’t come from anything. Where you came from not a lot of people eat every night. People don’t eat every night, there is crime out there. Kids who are born into situations , into impoverished situations, didn’t choose those lives, they didn’t choose that. So you really take every moment and every play and you understand that it has great magnitude and it means a lot, and you really take nothing for granted. You take no play, no blade of grass, nothing for granted, and you go out there and play with all of your heart.”
On if hits a button for him when he’s called a thug, especially coming from where he’s from: “It does sometimes because I know some thugs. They know I’m the furthest thing from a thug. Coming from where I’m from where I’m from, I fought that my whole life. Just coming from where I’m come from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that you just think, thug. He’s a gangster, he’s this that and the other, and then you hear Stanford and then they’re, ‘like that doesn’t even make sense. That’s an oxymoron.’ You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up, and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”