EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 30, 2014

Seattle's Sherman's finding calm amid storm

NEWARK, N.J. -- Richard Sherman spoke of regrets, race, diversity, stereotypes and setting an example for the nation’s youth.

You know, the sort of issues every football player ponders leading up to the biggest game of his life.

The last 10 days have shown that Sherman is anything but your typical NFL player. An amusing-yet-controversial postgame tirade directed toward San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree in the NFC Championship Game has thrust the Seattle cornerback into the national spotlight.

The buildup to Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seahawks and Denver Broncos provides him no cover.

Not that he wants it. Asked if he knew his comments would spark this spirited debate and make him a household name, Sherman exhibits no false modesty.

“I had a good idea,” he said.

Sherman is not consumed by the firestorm that ensued after he declared himself the best corner in the game while stressing Crabtree was nothing more than a mediocre receiver. He refuses to let others define him.

No, what Sherman has done is calmly articulate his stance while pointing out the assumptions that led critics to label him a thug. He wonders if his comments would have taken on a different tone if he was clean cut and didn’t have dreadlocks.

His questions can’t be dismissed. Why?

Hours after Sherman made national headlines, New England coach Bill Belichick impugned the integrity of Wes Welker by saying the Denver receiver purposely knocked one of the Patriots out of the AFC Championship Game with a dirty hit. The NFL ruled later the hit was legal.

It can be argued Belichick’s comments were much more calculated and inflammatory than Sherman’s emotional rant seconds after the game. Compare who has received the most criticism and it’s not even close.

At Tuesday’s media day, Sherman conceded he should have conducted himself differently.

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