For me, the football season ends with the Bears’ final game. After that, I don’t much care what happens in football or even who wins the Super Bowl.
However, I must admit I paid attention to the fallout from the NFC Championship game, when the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers on a spectacular last-second play by a player named Richard Sherman.
Now I found out about that spectacular play after the fact. Sometime after the game ended, I heard a lot of ranting and raving – on social media mostly – about this horrible person named Richard Sherman and how his comments on a live interview after the game were causing everyone to become a Denver Broncos fan for the Superbowl.
Naturally I found this very intriguing. What did this man say after the game that would cause an outpouring of condemnation and hate?
Thankfully, within seconds I saw Sherman’s half-minute interview with reporter Erin Andrews. She asks him to take us back through the game-winning play. And off he goes, yelling about “Crabtree,” who I’ve since learned was the opposing player.
No doubt you’ve seen it, too.
The gist of the Sherman’s emotional outburst is this: Sherman is great, Crabtree is lame, or worse, and nobody should talk bad about Sherman.
He was pretty excited, no doubt caught up in the moment of just winning the title game for his team. Who wouldn’t be?
But I still don’t get the outrage. I don’t get the outpouring of hate and the racist name- calling of Sherman, who, by the way, is a black guy with dreadlocks.
Oh, wait, yes I do.
I’m old enough to remember another black man who was a really good athlete. He would call himself the greatest and trash-talk his opponents, calling them chumps and predict how he would dispatch them.
I remember people – well, mostly white people – being outraged by this athlete’s behavior.
They called him names and rooted for his opponents, too.
People got really upset, but tried to be polite about it when he changed his name and insisted his old name was a slave name. Then people got really mad when he dodged the draft during Vietnam.
Of course I’m talking about a man who is universally admired today — Muhammad Ali.
Now, I’m not saying Richard Sherman is on a par with Muhammad Ali.
All I’m saying is that I’ve seen a talented, outspoken black man speak his mind and be universally condemned for it before.
I got over it then, and don’t care about it now.