Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has emerged as one of the most prominent voices in the NFL over the past few seasons, and he used his availability with the media Wednesday to address a polarizing issue.
According to the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta, Sherman addressed reporters and confirmed that a blog post circulating the Internet regarding the Black Lives Matter movement was misattributed to him.
His complete remarks can be viewed below, courtesy of the Tacoma News Tribune:
Sherman opened by discussing his views on relationships between police and members of the black community, and he made it clear he does not endorse violence toward law enforcement, per Condotta:
A lot of people had sent (the article) to me over the weekend, but I thought this would be the best place to address it. There were some points in that article, or in that post, that were relevant and I could agree with. But there were also some obviously ignorant points in there. I don’t think any time’s a time to call out for an all-out war against police or any race of people. I thought that was an ignorant statement. But as a black man, I do understand that black lives matter. You know, I stand for that, I believe in that wholeheartedly.
The Seahawks star also cited personal experiences when examining black-on-black crime:
I also think that there’s a way to go about things, and there’s a way to do things. And I think the issue at hand needs to be addressed internally, and before we move on, because from personal experience, you know, you are living in the hood, living in the inner city, you deal with things, you deal with people dying. Dealt with a best friend getting killed … it was two 35-year-old black men. Wasn’t no police officer involved, wasn’t anybody else involved, and I didn’t hear anybody shouting ‘black lives matter’ then. And I think that’s the point we need to get to is that we need to deal with our own internal issues before we move forward and start pointing fingers and start attacking other people. We need to solidify ourselves as people and deal with our issues, because I think as long as we have black-on-black crime and, you know, one black man killing another. If Black Lives Matter, then it should matter all the time. You should never let somebody get killed — that’s somebody’s son, that’s somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s friend. So you should always keep that in mind.
Sherman is not the first professional athlete to make a public statement regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last December, NBA stars LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Garnett donned warm-up shirts inscribed with the words "I can't breathe" in support of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a chokehold by a police officer in Staten Island, New York.
President Barack Obama proceeded to speak out in support of James and athletes who have made an effort to discuss divisive social issues publicly.
"You know, I think LeBron did the right thing," Obama said, according to People Magazine's Sandra Sobieraj Westfall. "We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness."