The Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the 2013/14 Super Bowl. No one is talking about this fact though. No, everyone is talking about the interview Hawks corner Richard Sherman had with sports reporter Erin Andrews right after the win. Ms. Andrews asks Mr. Sherman to walk her through the last play of the game. Instead the player, obviously still pumped up and riding high on joy and adrenaline enthusiastically claimed he was the best corner in the game and that no one could touch him, least of all the 49ers Michael Crabtree. Crabtree and Sherman were visibly antagonistic on the field and verbally sparing off. This is par for the course for athletics professional or not and while amusing for its enthusiasm the “outburst” by Sherman was nothing more than a winning player rubbing his losing opponent’s nose in it a bit. Erin Andrews seemed surprised by the boisterous response to her question but she handled the situation fine and obviously saw the humor in the situation. The white racial naysayers online do not seem to have the same sense of humor. Here are a few randomly picked responses from across the internet to the Sherman interview:
The Washington Post calls Sherman’s interview a “rant” as does Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” website. If you want to say what the commentors on The Blaze are saying about Sherman then go look for yourself. I will not reprint the vile and horribly racist things they are saying here on this blog.
Richard Sherman is trending world-wide on twitter as we speak, and unbelievably much of what is being said is negative at best and horribly bigoted at worst. He has been called a “thug” the N-word, a “monkey” and an “animal”. All this for the sin of being enthusiastic while male and black in front of a white woman. People are out there expressing “sympathy” for Erin Andrews, as though she were somehow harmed or disturbed by doing her job interviewing the most expressive, colorful, and boastful of people in the entire sports universe: NFL players (of all colors and races).
The outrage seems to stem from Sherman daring to speak his mind live on TV and also daring to pull no punches when expressing his enthusiasm and joy at defeating a tough and hated (in an athletic context) foe. So what? Could it be that anytime a black man yells or expresses himself enthusiastically in public the white American media and public are conditioned to see this as a sign of a “thug” attitude or that he is “ranting” and being “inappropriate”? Especially when that black man has dark skin and long dread-locked hair? This reaction was reflexive on the part of many of the white commentors online. Our society, the society that says that Trayvon Martin was “armed” with the pavement while letting off his gun-wielding non-black killer, the society that fills our TV screens and newspaper pages with images of black crime that are far out of context with who really commits the majority of crime in this nation, the society that still judges all black men and young children on what they wear, how they speak, and even they way they express their emotions, that society is not ready to admit that they cannot handle a black man being himself in public and in front of a white woman.
Do we really think that if the Packers Clay Matthews had given the same response in the same way to Ms. Andrews’ question that he would be called a “thug” or have his very humanity brought into question? I think not. I think they would say that Matthews was being a “mans man”, a “hero” and showing his “intensity”. No such luck for Mr. Sherman. No such luck for all black men in the US who dare to speak their minds and show their emotions. We have a long way to go before we can just see an athlete and not a “black” one or a “white” one, or a “hero” instead of a “thug”.
Here is the video of the Richard Sherman interview if you are interested. If so much outrage had not come out in the white community at large (this writer excluded) I would not have given it a second thought. The man is happy and pumped up. That is all I see here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjOkTib5eVQ
UPDATE: After Richard Sherman and the Seahawks totally dismantled the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII (the most watched Super Bowl of all time with 111 mil + viewers) I find it funny that a championship season that began with some racist bashing of a talented football star ends with the racist bashing of a sweet and harmless Coca-Cola ad during the game…People on the internet are going NUTS over the commercial, which showed Americans of all different races, genders, sexual orientations and national origins singing “America The Beautiful”. The response from the right has been disgusting and has even surprised me with its pettiness and crudity. There is even an idiotic hashtag campaign with the totally un-ironic name #SpeakAmerican…when the xenophobes cannot even identify the language they are supposedly trying to defend from “foreigners” you know it is time to call it a night.