Let me start by saying that I’m a huge football fan. HUGE. Always have been, always will be. I love the Broncos and I love the Eagles, but my loyalty always has been and will be to the Broncos. I grew up with a family who was obsessed with the Broncos. My Grandpa had season tickets. My brother and cousins and I went to the mall to see “The 3 Amigos” when they were headed to the Superbowl and spent hours tearing up newspapers (what are those??) to throw in the air after a Bronco score when we went to the games. We had big get togethers to watch the games. I never went Black Friday shopping because CU played Nebraska that day and we watched the game. Football has always been a big part of my life. Now it’s a big part of my own family’s life, as I married a fellow Denver native and gigantic, life-long Bronco fan. My son chose tickets to the Bronco game vs. a birthday party for the 2nd year in a row. The last time he chose a party? We did a tour of the Broncos stadium. You get the picture.
After the Broncos won the AFC Championship and earned a trip to the Superbowl yesterday, we were excited to watch the next game and see who they’d be playing. I told my husband that I kind of liked both teams and wouldn’t mind seeing either of them play in the Superbowl but that I probably leaned toward the Seahawks. He said “I’m surprised you like them, as much of a trash-talking team as they are.” That shows how little I’ve watched them play, as I wasn’t really aware of that. I just know that Marshawn Lynch is a running machine and Russell Wilson is an incredibly talented athlete. Oh, and I like their uniforms. I thought the guy stretching with his gloves hanging out of his helmet was weird. That’s pretty much it as far as where my head was before the game.
Well, at the end of the game – I had one word in my mouth: EW. My kids were watching and they were all caught off-guard and asked what his deal was. We just said he was really wound up and it was too bad that he decided to act like that because he should have been celebrating with his teammates and enjoying the moment. While we were watching the trophy presentation, my five year old even said “That guy doesn’t deserve that trophy. He’s too mean!” as he watched Sherman hold up the NFC Championship trophy. What you should know about our five year old is that he struggles with not throwing pretty obnoxious (more than the usual five year old norm) temper tantrums and is told on an almost daily basis “Do we EVER reward that kind of behavior?” when he’s yelling, whining, arguing, talking nasty, hitting — whatever his current struggle might be. He knows the answer: NEVER. Of course seeing Sherman hold up that trophy didn’t make sense to him — it went against everything that he is told in this house on a daily basis.
I participated in some facebook conversation last night after the game about how gross I thought this guy’s behavior was and got a kick out of the fact that one of the first things people who were defending him said is that he went to Stanford. Okay, great. So, he’s a well-educated butthead was my first thought. Did you SEE and HEAR this man? Ew. Classless. That’s where my head was at last night.
We had a quiet morning around here today since the kids don’t have school and my husband and I both have the day off. While I sipped my coffee, I decided to try and learn more about the guy that irritated me so much last night. One thing we talk to our kids about is that everyone has a bad day. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when you’re emotional and in the moment…and since my kids watched his um, “interview” and had strong reactions of their own – I thought I’d do some research so that I could talk to them about what kind of player this guy really is. I did chuckle when I saw the title of this documentary in my google search (clue #1) but I watched the whole thing with an open mind. I also read his own response to last night’s events as well as a Forbes article which gave another perspective, mostly supporting why what he did and said was okay.
After all of that, here’s my opinion…
My impression is that Richard Sherman is a truly intelligent, super talented man who has combined those traits with a strong drive, commitment, passion, determination, family support and sense of humor to follow and achieve his dreams. I am impressed with all that he has accomplished, am SO glad that he’s remained true to himself and gives back to his community, and agree that he is an obvious asset to his team and that his talent should be respected. He said it best himself in the NFL film — even though he’s been named an All-Pro, he’s yet to be voted by his peers to the Pro Bowl because he rubs people the wrong way and they just don’t like him. To me, that speaks volumes about life in general — your talent will ALWAYS be outshined by your attitude. Always. That’s just the way it is. If he’s at peace with it, good for him. Carry on, sir.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like a good trash talker now and then. I seriously love the video of Shannon Sharpe pretending to call the National Guard because the Broncos were “Killing the Patriots” from years ago. It makes me laugh. Why is it funny to me? It was on the sidelines, with his teammates — not in the face of his opponents the minute they were trying to process a crappy loss. He waved goodbye to the fans that had given him grief all game — he didn’t flip them the bird. I’m not saying everything Shannon Sharpe has ever said or done has been classy and respectable…I’m just saying that I can appreciate that clip because it was funny and not “out of bounds” or in someone’s face.
I can appreciate that Richard Sherman brings some of that to the game. My problem with him is that he is not someone who appears to take responsibility for his own behavior when it crosses the line. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine. We tell our own kids that it’s always better to leave other players/fans talking about your talent, not your attitude and that your sportsmanship, or lack of it, will always speak louder than what you do during the game. Saturday morning my son’s basketball team got crushed. The mercy rules were in play, if that tells you how lopsided the game was. It was a painful loss to a much better team – which in the moment seriously sucks, let’s be honest. What stood out the most though? The kid on the other team with a beautiful shot? At first, yes. He was GOOD. After about 3 minutes though, another kid on the opposing team who threw his hands in the air every time things didn’t go his way, a foul was called on him or he lost the ball. It couldn’t have ever possibly been because he did something wrong – it was always cause for whining, an open jaw and complete disbelief. Where did he look at these moments? Straight at his parents on the sidelines for support. Did they say anything? Not sure. I never followed his gaze but they didn’t appear to shut him down because it happened during the ENTIRE game. We have MANY talks about sportsmanship with our own kids — trust me, they are far from perfect. My 11 year old son got sat on the bench early in that basketball game because he had 3 fouls by halftime. He earned them all, and if he would have turned around to us looking for sympathy at any point, he would have simply heard “Knock it off. Turn around and take care of business.” Please don’t hear me say that we’re perfect parents, we simply expect them to save the discussion for that kind of thing for the car ride home. On the court or field, you leave that kind of thing up to your team captains and/or your coach. Period.
There’s a balance between enjoying the game, sharing some banter with the opposing team and carrying yourself in a way that honors your team, your family and the fans on the sidelines supporting you. You learn as you go and hopefully we are helping guide our children into a good balance. (There are mistakes we make along the way, too. We talk about those as well.) I was an athlete growing up and I had a mouth on me as a volleyball and soccer player — trust me, I get how hard it can be to control your temper and words when emotions run high. Now, I can easily be “that mom” on the sidelines, and constantly have to check myself when our kids are playing a team that brings some dirty play/trash talk to the game. It’s irritating. People (even 7 year old girls sometimes – LOL) get under your skin when you have a competitive nature. I get it.
Back to football. Another thing to know about me is that while I appreciate his talent, I’ve never jumped onto the Peyton Manning bandwagon – I don’t dislike him and I definitely respect his talent and leadership. I’m just not a Superfan like 99% of Broncos Nation. I will say this though — Richard Sherman can definitely take a page out of #18’s post-game interview playbook. They played in games with the same meaning, the same outcomes and like the whole Crabtree/Sherman situation, Manning was pitted by the media and sports fans against Brady ALL WEEK. Everyone was questioning Manning and his ability to finish, quoting all of the statistics, talking about how none of his accomplishments would mean anything and how he’d be remembered for this loss instead of all that he’s achieved up to this point if he didn’t win the game. If *he* didn’t win? That bugged me all week long. How about if THE BRONCOS didn’t win the game?
So, what did he do? Peyton let his play speak for itself, just shook hands with people (including Tom Brady) after the game, and in his post-game interview gave his coaches and teammates all of the credit by repeatedly talking about how it was a collective group effort. This man broke almost every possible record this season and had every right to claim he’s “the best” but instead he pointed the praise to those around him and shared the spotlight in a classy way. It was pretty cool.
Richard Sherman could surprise everyone by occasionally classing it up and humbling himself a bit. Whether or not he should is a difference of opinion with many people. I personally find it hard to believe, after reading all that I’ve read about him, that Sherman was truly just wanting to shake Crabtree’s hand and say “Good game” and that his butt slap and in the face talking that followed was a result of Crabtree ignoring him. If he was, well — my doubting his intentions is a direct result of his own pattern of behavior — even if he doesn’t want to take responsibility for them. More than likely, he was taunting and pushing buttons — just like he’d been waiting to do all week. When Crabtree wouldn’t react, he took it to the camera. Not the classiest move.
Most disappointing of all to me? THIS is what people are talking about this morning. Not the Seahawks and their fabulous year, awesome home record and win after a hard fought game. Football fans everywhere are talking about Richard Sherman today, no matter which side of the argument they fall on.
I guess he got what he wanted — the spotlight. It’s just too bad that it is at the expense of the rest of his team.