Give him a chance to say more than a few words, and you might just fall head over heels for the Seahawks' Richard Sherman.
Prior to the Seahawks' NFC Championship win over the 49ers, some may have easily dismissed Sherman as a smack-talking athlete while others may have appreciated him for his defensive guile. Of course, opinions largely coincided with team loyalties.
But then this happened:
A simple interview with Erin Andrews, devoted to the usual throwaway responses, was actually, dare we say it, interesting. The regrettable fact, and Sherman has since apologized for it, was the spotlight was taken from his teammates and, of course, a fellow NFL player was ridiculed on national television.
A rare moment many demand actually happened: An athlete was passionate, interesting and provocative. It sure beats something along the lines of, "Well, we played hard and gave 100 percent..."
While there were those who were enamored with the captivating spectacle, there were others who decided a sports rant from one rich athlete aimed at another was cause to be truly awful themselves.
Deadspin's Samer Kalaf has a breakdown of some of the more reprehensible things offered on Twitter.
Thankfully, the spotlight did shine brightly on Sherman, because the Super Bowl, an event that welcomes those who don't even like football, get to meet the man behind the facemask and pads.
Here he is tipping his hat to all of his teammates:
On the flip side, you have the curious case of Marshawn Lynch, who has said very little in his brief cameos with reporters this week.
The already obvious becomes far more evident in this rather peculiar jaunt toward the Super Bowl: You don't have to say much to get a rise out of people.
But this is about Sherman's rant, which was really a few seconds of braggadocio timed perfectly to get fingers tweeting after the Seahawks' NFC Championship win.
With a media swell like that, Sherman could have used his time to reflect on his journey. Don't worry, because Sherman has been afforded that platform and then some.
He gave fans some amazing insight in a MMQB column entitled, "10 Things I Learned After America Learned About Me."
Some of the more interesting parts follow:
No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is. That’s not mine. It belongs to Irvin Himmel. Somebody tweeted it at me after the NFC Championship Game. If I could pass a lesson on to the kids it would be this: Don’t attack anybody. I shouldn’t have attacked Michael Crabtree the way I did. You don’t have to put anybody else down to make yourself bigger.
That is the first thing Sherman chose to highlight, reserving prime space to share a humbling moment amid triumph.
This stage is bigger than I thought it was. How much does America love football? My one little rant made it onto CNBC and CNN. I heard my name on The View. I got tweets in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Czech and Arabic. People identify with the struggle and the battle of a football game.
Sherman goes on to say that anonymity isn't something he exactly appreciates. If you want to make a name for yourself in this game and don't find yourself tossing the ball for a living, people need another reason to care to see your face and know your name.
And, as he reminds us, just a year ago, while at the Super Bowl, hardly any fans recognized him:
Sherman has since ensured that most huddled around the TV this weekend will know his name.
He also appeared on CNN's Unguarded with Rachel Nichols, delving even deeper into his past:
You can chide him for his words, but his actions continue to speak volumes: "It was definitely about more than just football. How almost oxymoronic does it sound that a kid from Compton is going to Stanford. The initial thought was to send a message to kids. Look what hard work can get you. I was just trying to show them anything is possible."
We would be naive to think all the negativity surrounding Sherman has passed. There are some, too many, who still hate Sherman's rant.
That's a shame, because it means you have no clue what he stands for. You would change your opinion if you just decided to listen to him for once.
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