There I was, minding my own business, watching the after-game show on TV after the Seattle Seahawks had just narrowly defeated my team, the San Francisco 49’ers, in the playoffs. Now I had to decide which team to root for in the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos.
There were pros and cons to each team. I have close family living near both Denver and Seattle. On political matters, Colorado voters had recently recalled some of their legislators who had passed some gun control laws, and this made me like Colorado. But Washington state is one of the few states without a state income tax. I like that.
Regarding the mascots of the two teams, the “Bronco” is the same mascot as my law school, so this doesn’t sit well with me, but the “Seahawk” is a fictional creature. No such thing exists in nature. Maybe I am a stickler for details, but I have a hard time rooting for a team with a totally fictional mascot. True, I once advocated voting for a fictional person, George Bailey, for president, but this is important. Which Super Bowl team to root for is a very important issue for the average American guy.
The mascots, the cities, the players, the local political issues; all were important considerations, but no single issue had yet made up my mind as to which team to root for. Then I saw the following interview between Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews and Richard Sherman, a pass defender for the Seattle Seahawks:
Andrews: Alright, Richard, let me ask you the final play, take me through it.
Sherman: Well I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me!
Andrews: Who was talking about you?
Sherman: Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick! L.O.B.!
Andrews: Alright before … and … Joe, back over to you!
Richard Sherman sounded like a total thug; a graceless winner! What an incredible jerk! True, football is an aggressive, physical game, but when a player is interviewed, especially after a close win like this, they are supposed to thank their teammates and show a little sportsmanship. For a moment there Sherman even looked like he was a danger to anyone nearby, especially the unfortunate reporter who quickly ended the interview.
What is it with celebrities nowadays? Why is there so little class and respectability among those famous sports players and entertainers? It’s pretty frustrating.
Even more frustrating is the way some people are defending Sherman’s thuggish rant.
One commentator said, “Sherman was in the zone, give him a break.”
But the game was already over. If that was Sherman’s mindset, he needs to learn to shut it off after the game is over, so that he can act like a normal person and not a thug.
Then there was this: “Sherman graduated from Stanford, you know.”
Like I care! Stanford, like any other university is perfectly capable of graduating jerks.
Kids nowadays look up to sports figures like Richard Sherman. Any time a sport figure or celebrity accomplishes anything immediately tangible, like a football game, they gain the admiration of countless American kids. It would be nice if a celebrity in the spotlight would realize this and act accordingly.
Instead we are treated with television spectacles of Sherman’s rant, or basketball star Dennis Rodman yucking it up with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, or formerly-wholesome Mylie Cyrus sexually-dancing, or “twerking” with other singers on a stage. I could go on.
Of course there have been exceptions. Not every American celebrity is a jerk. Steve Garvey, Cal Ripken, Jr., Tim Tebow, and Joe DiMaggio are some names that come to mind.
I once met a celebrity with class. A few years ago, through a series of family connections and events, I found myself having lunch with country-western singer Brad Paisley. Just a few handlers, friends, Brad Paisley and me. Paisley’s career had just begun, but you could already tell that he had class.
I relayed to him that I had recently seen a movie about the rock group R.E.M., and the lead singer refused a fan’s request for an autograph. The R.E.M. singer just couldn’t be bothered.
Paisley couldn’t believe it. “Ah reckon ah will always give an autograph to anyone who asks f’r it,” he said. He might not have used the word ‘reckon,’ but he did have a country accent. Paisley also said that signing autographs was important.
But the point is that despite his success, Paisley showed respect for someone besides himself. Maybe not DiMaggio-esque, but good enough. We fans don’t expect perfection, just some respect for the fans and a semblance of humility.
And we fans certainly don’t like it when what should be a pretty routine interview turns into a thuggish proclamation of superiority over some rival, a threat of “shutting your mouth real quick,” and a reporter who feels unsafe standing nearby.
Yes, for this Super Bowl I am now officially a Broncos fan. And I am sure there are many formerly-ambivalent fans, just like me, now rooting for the Broncos.
And I hope that the Broncos score the winning touchdown by a pass that is caught in spite of Richard Sherman’s pass defense! That would be nice.