Polarizing Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been fined more than $7,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting during his team's NFC Championship Game win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The news and the amount was first reported by USA Today's Tom Pelissero:
#Seahawks CB Richard Sherman was fined $7,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct/taunting.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 24, 2014
The incident in question occurred in the waning moments of Seattle's dramatic 23-17 win at CenturyLink Field after Sherman deflected a pass intended for 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree that was intercepted by linebacker Malcolm Smith.
Immediately following the game-clinching pick, Sherman ran over to Crabtree, smacked him on the rear and offered the wideout a handshake. Unsurprisingly, Sherman was met with a stiff arm from the dejected Niner.
The Pro Bowl corner even went so far as to put Crabtree on blast during a postgame interview with Fox Sports' Erin Andrews, calling Crabtree a "sorry receiver."
Sherman wrote about the incident on Monday, Jan. 20, in a column for Sports Illustrated's The Monday Morning Quarterback, explaining why he did what he did:
I ran over to Crabtree to shake his hand but he ignored me. I patted him, stuck out my hand and said, “Good game, good game.” That’s when he shoved my face, and that’s when I went off.
I threw a choking sign at 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Why? Because he decided he was going to try the guy he was avoiding all game, because, I don’t know, he’s probably not paying attention for the game-winning play. C’mon, you’re better than that.
The reactions to Sherman's taunts and postgame comments were mixed, but many, including former NFL linebacker and three-time Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman, appreciated the emotion:
The only thing I disagreed w/was Sherman @ the podium after the game everything else 2me was fine, I think the #NFL is missing this attitude— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) January 21, 2014
While some will argue that Sherman's actions were a product of the moment or a part of the sport, there's no denying he crossed the line in regard to his behavior following arguably the most important play of the game.
It's difficult to assign a price tag to actions, but the NFL is clearly sending a message that unsportsmanlike behavior will carry consequences that extend beyond the playing field and into players' wallets.
But given Sherman's trash-talking nature and carefree attitude, it's unlikely this fine will faze him. After all, he and his Seahawks teammates have plenty on their plate already as they try to slow the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
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