If you haven’t seen Sherman’s infamous interview with Erin Andrews of FOX, here you go:
While everyone decided to make evaluations of Richard Sherman’s character based on a 30-second interview in an emotional moment, many people revealed their own character based on their comments through Twitter and other avenues.
The fact is - Richard Sherman gave us the comments and sound clip that writers crave. He was raw. He was authentic. He was passionate. He was genuine.
And much of the viewing public couldn’t handle it.
As a sportswriter, I’ve been in similar situations to what Erin Andrews found herself in. I’ve never been on a stage as big as the NFC Championship game on live TV, but I have interviewed players just moments after a game.
As a writer/reporter, the thing you hope for most is that the player or coach will give you something you can work with. I don’t care if it’s incredibly stupid, funny, honest or insightful - any of these will work just fine. You want a comment that is unique and reveals something about what’s going on in the individual’s head.
We rarely get that.
Postgame interviews are typically full of cliches and generic statements. We get moments like Johnny Manziel telling his guys not to look at the scoreboard during a second half comeback. We get players talking about how they just beat a great team, even though it was a 35-point blowout where the starters were pulled with 10 minutes to play. We get a coach saying he knew player x would step up and make a play in the game’s biggest moment.
Richard Sherman gave us something much more than that.
He opened up and gave us a glimpse of the emotion a player feels after coming away victorious from this violent thing called football that we enjoy for our entertainment. He revealed the confidence it takes to be the best cornerback in the NFL.
Side note - being confident/cocky is one of the requirements for playing Richard Sherman’s position. Cornerbacks often find themselves isolated in a section of the field in a position where they have to quickly react to what the offensive player does. The offensive guy knows where he’s going while the defender has to respond to his movement. It’s one of the loneliest positions in football. The confidence Richard Sherman has in himself is part of what makes him so great.
Back on subject.
Richard Sherman’s interview was fantastic because it showed how much he cared. How he took it personally that the 49ers thought they could beat him on a play that would send them to the Super Bowl and finish the season for the Seahawks.
Unfortunately, people panicked when they saw Sherman’s emotional response.
People panicked because it was something we’re not used to. It wasn’t the cookie-cutter response. It wasn’t the tired cliche of “big players make big plays in big games.”
It was something so much more.
I’m glad Richard Sherman was willing to give us more. Now I just hope fans can come to a place where they’re comfortable with these special athletes who give us more.