This isn't a case of media ripping media, mind you. The questions Sherman answered in the 30-plus minutes I sat next to his podium were really dumb, even by Media Day standards.
There were two questions about Justin Bieber. There were questions about fashion, his hair and the women of New York City, and at one point, singer Michelle Williams came up to do a duet with Sherman and handed him an Xbox for finishing her lyrics.
As each question came in—and yes, there were some good ones, too—Sherman answered with thoughtfulness, respect and a giant smile on his face.
Truly, he looked like a different person from the man screaming into the microphone last weekend. Yes, reporters asked him about that, too. A lot.
"I think it does help to have a certain attitude and a certain mindset about your opponent, especially playing defender and playing corner and being out there on an island," Sherman told the swarm of reporters, including yours truly, during his media availability. "Kam Chancellor calls it 'the dark place,' and he has a really dark place where he goes, and I don't really want to go there."
"I go somewhere where there's a lot of animosity, there's a lot of frustration, there's a lot of focus…and I pull from that place when I need to."
Sherman was obviously still in that dark place—or whatever he calls it—after the Seahawks won the NFC title, leading to an interview that has made Sherman the most talked about player on the planet the week leading into the Super Bowl.
The man today was not that man. Well, he was that man, but he was not in that place.
The man today sounded like the smartest guy in the room.
By my count, Sherman fielded more than 3,000 questions about his outburst after the NFC Championship Game, but the one question the NFL offices should listen to first was when a reporter asked how differently the postgame interview with Erin Andrews would have gone if Sherman had time to cool off and get out of that dark place.
"I think if I had more time after the game to think things over, it would have been better articulated, obviously. A lot lower tone, lower volume, it would have been a clearer and more concise message, and I think the criticism would have been less," Sherman responded.
"I think the attention that was put on it would have been a lot less. The way they treated the situation would have been totally different. I definitely think I took something away from my teammates."
"I definitely think that moment—because the way they covered it—it took the attention away…maybe that's me, maybe that's my mistake, or maybe it's the way it's getting covered these days. People look for controversial things."
That was so perfect. It was such a perfect answer, in that he never once admitted he would have taken back anything he said about Michael Crabtree, nor did he take full responsibility for how big of a story his outburst became.
This story is every bit as much our fault as his, and he calmly reminded all of us at the biggest media event of the year.
Sherman did, however, make it clear that he feels bad the story has taken the attention away from the rest of his teammates. "I'm not a selfish player," he said on at least three occasions. "I play for my guys. I'm just one of 11 on defense, one of 22 when the offense is out there and one of 53 on the team."
Of course, that line came from a podium surrounded by cameras while most of the other 53 stood along the side of the Prudential Center floor, waiting for the hour to end. Sherman's podium was clearly the most well attended of any Seattle player, nearly doubling that of Russell Wilson at times. Only Peyton Manning seemed to have a bigger media horde around him the entire day. And the smile never seemed to go away.
Media Day was a blast! pic.twitter.com/5nNwtOQQmv— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 28, 2014
That's not to suggest Sherman made light of what happened. In fact, his answer to a question about what he would tell kids about the choking sign he made was as thoughtful as anything he has said all week, which was no small feat given the question before was about Beyonce.
Whether Seattle wins or loses on Sunday, the big individual winner for this Super Bowl media cycle is clearly Sherman. It's amazing how a player as important as he has been all year to a Super Bowl team could raise his national profile this much in a week's time. He is a bona fide star in the NFL—a household name—and he handled himself like a champion today.
"If people took the time to get to know me and learn about me, they would learn there is more to me than that rant."
In what little time we had today, we have.
The Dumbest Questions for Richard Sherman at Media Day
I'll admit, it was hard to hear every question, so not all of these are quotes, but here are a few of the topics reporters asked Sherman about during his media day session. I had to leave after about 30 minutes. The idiocy became too much to chronicle.
• "What music do you listen to before games?"
• "Do you listen to angry music?"
• "Do you see any similarities between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady?"
• "How important are your dreads?" I'm not sure of the exact wording of that one, but his answer to the question was, "If you can cure all the childhood hunger in the world, I'll cut off my dreads. That's how important they are."
• Someone asked Sherman, being in New York, who he considers a fashion icon. His answer: "Earl Thomas."
• "Do you have any tips to being a better student?"
• "So, how about this weather?" ...or some variation of that at least a few times.
• "What is your biggest pet peeve about New York?"
• "Did you ride the subway yet?"
• "Who is your New York crush?" I assume this was a not-so-clever way to get him to say the word "crush" for a marketing gimmick. It had to be, because it was a ridiculous question, even among the ridiculous.
• "What do you think of the women in New York?" This likely ended with another comment about Beyonce.
• Somebody asked Sherman to talk about his respect for Muhammad Ali, with a follow-up question of, "Does that make Crabtree your Joe Frazier?" Take that guy's credentials away.
• He was asked about Macklemore, because, of course, he was.
• "Do you have anything to say to Justin Bieber?" Someone then asked, "What's the weirdest question you've been asked?" and he replied, "Someone asked me about Justin Bieber, so…"
• "How does it feel to play in the Super Bowl?" A little boy in attendance posed that one, but given some of the other questions, it easily could have been any one of us.