By Frank Lewis
Somebody has to come to the defense of Richard Sherman, and it looks like it is going to have to be me. It’s time for everyone to leave him alone.
I was watching Fox News Wednesday morning, and they made some remarks about what he had said in a rant after the NFC championship game, then said - “Now comes a story about a player you can really look up to.” Those people need to do their homework. Your kid can look up to Richard Sherman and be proud of it.
According to Wikipedia, Sherman attended Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., from a neighborhood a lot of young men don’t survive, where he starred in football, and track and field. As a senior in 2005, he accounted for 1,030 all-purpose yards, including 870 yards on 28 catches and three punt returns for touchdowns. He also recorded 45 tackles, eight pass breakups and one interception as a defensive back, and helped Dominguez to a CIF Southern Section Division III title with a 41-14 victory over Notre Dame High School in the championship game.
He earned All-American honors in the triple jump and was the 7th ranked triple jumper in California in 2005. A scholar-athlete, he was Salutatorian (ranked second) in his high school class.
It didn’t end there. Sherman began his career at Stanford as a wide receiver and led the Cardinals in receiving as a freshman in 2006 while being named a Freshman All-American. He caught 47 passes over the next two years before suffering a season-ending knee injury after playing in the first four games in 2008. He switched to cornerback after his injury due to team need and made 112 tackles over his final two years, which also included 6 interceptions. He was part of the 2010 Stanford Cardinal football team which finished 12-1, a school record.
Now, let me get to the part that is more important than all of those achievements. Sherman is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. He graduated in 2010 from Stanford with a degree in communications and returned for his final year of eligibility in order to begin a Masters degree. He is very involved in the Seattle community and loved by his teammates.
It would be difficult to find anyone who hasn’t spouted off some time in his or her life. His response was a climax of a long-running issue between he and Michael Crabtree, and when it comes to a head and you win in the end, it is difficult not to try to finish off the situation by basically saying - “I told you so.”
Maybe he shouldn’t have and maybe he should have said what he said. I’m not the judge of that. But to say he isn’t someone to look up to is to belittle the huge effort he made to get from where he started to where he is today.
I saw super-agent Lee Steinberg on TV and he may have put it all in the proper perspective. He said all Sherman did was market himself by making that statement.
I can tell you one thing. There will be thousands of media types on hand for the Super Bowl, and I’ll bet the majority will flock to one man - Richard Sherman.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.