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Richard Sherman Comments on Patriots, Tom Brady's Deflategate Ruling

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2015

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) shakes hands with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) after their NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Patriots won the game 28-24. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Richard Sherman came to the defense of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in August regarding the Deflategate controversy, and Sherman doubled down on that stance Wednesday.

The All-Pro Seattle Seahawks cornerback critiqued the process that led to Brady's suspension and emphasized the importance of "guys getting justice, guys not being persecuted for things they didn't do," per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com.

Sherman also had some thoughts on the report from Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham for ESPN's Outside the Lines that leveled numerous new allegations at the Patriots regarding the taping of opponents' sideline signals.

"Everybody does their things a little differently, but at the end of the day, it's handled between the lines," Sherman said, per Kapadia. "And if they man up and they beat you straight up, they beat you straight up. You can say they knew your plays or they watched this or they watched that, but a lot of times if you watch film good enough, you find good indicators."

He then argued even the most in-depth preparation before a game can only prove so valuable for a team.

"They still have to intercept the ball. They still have to execute," Sherman said. "Eleven guys have to execute at the same time. And that's what they did, so give them credit. If there's hanky-panky going on, they've gotten away with it."

In response to the OTL report, Bill Simmons hit on a very good point about what it could mean regarding the Patriots' past successes:

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Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Not sure what to make of the sour grapes stuff. Sure seems like everyone who ever lost to 2001-07 Pats now has a built-in excuse for failure

Wickersham and Van Natta spoke to a source from the Carolina Panthers who seemed to imply New England's "cheating" cost the Carolina Panthers Super Bowl XXXVIII.

"Our players came in after that first half and said it was like [the Patriots] were in our huddle," the source said, adding, "Do I have any tape to prove they cheated? No. But I'm convinced they did it."

One of the more discussed aspects of the Patriots' methods from the OTL article is their alleged tendency to have an employee steal the other team's play sheet. On its own, that tactic sounds rather extreme, but Bleacher Report's Matt Miller tweeted that it's a common practice for most NFL teams.

Perhaps with Sherman espousing an intelligent argument defending the Patriots, New England's biggest critics can start putting the whole situation in its proper context.

While the Patriots may have benefited negligibly from their illegal practices, they still have to go out onto the field and win the game. Chalking up all of their success to Spygate or stealing play sheets would be reductive and unfair.

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