Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has a lot to be proud about. Being one of the league’s best cornerbacks who just made a career defining play that sealed his team’s progress in the Superbowl, is not an everyday achievement.
Sherman had just played his part in a vital interception that secured victory against the San Francisco 49ers. Tipping the ball away from 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree so that one of his teammates could complete the interception.
While still feeling the heat of the moment and the adrenalin still pumping, sideline reporter Erin Andrews managed to interview him.
What happened next was a clear demonstration of passion, emotion and a sense of achievement. Sherman didn’t hold back and let the media know exactly how he felt about his opposite number that match, Michael Crabtee.
Although not saying anything offensive, the way the 25 year old expressed his disdain for Crabtree, saying: “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get!” It wasn’t what Sherman said that shocked the viewers, but the way he said it.
Sherman apologized later, after the clip had gone viral, saying: “I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates, that was not my intent.’’
After his explosive post-match interview, his comments and reaction were quickly dissected and interpreted by pundits and fans on social networks. Two clear blocks formed. One block criticizing Sherman for being disrespectful, lacking class, being arrogant and for unsportsmanlike conduct. The other block supporting Sherman’s vociferous passion and raw emotion that came to light in the 40 second interview.
The debate was raging whether fans like to see their players act like gentlemen, who praise their team over themselves and behave within the tight regulations of media etiquette. Or if professional athletes should sometimes or always show a real, true and detailed portrait of how they are feeling in that moment.
After watching endless interviews like the image below, hearing that raw emotion often reminds the fans why they connect to a team or to a player. As sports fans we connect with those emotions and share that feeling of being on top of the world. After watching the interview once, the emotion could be felt instantly. Not many sports fans get a chance to understand what it must feel like to reach the pinnacle of your career, especially when that includes beating a personal rival who one has been feuding with over the past season.
Although his outburst was unexpected and rather insulting towards a fellow professional, it was better than any other interview where media trained professionals repeat the same old mantras and adhere to pre-prepared statements.
The opposite viewpoint is understandable. No one likes people who gloat or who emit their schadenfreude so publically, but it would be an understatement to say that sports fans aren’t excited to hear what Richard Sherman might have to say moments after potentially winning the Superbowl.