Randy Smith: Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge Richard Sherman

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The two players who have drawn the most attention from last weekend’s NFL League Championship Games are Peyton Manning, who passed for 400 yards in helping the Broncos beat New England, and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, whose post-game interview with Fox reporter Erin Andrews, has gone viral on the internet. “I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman said. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”

That comment along with Sherman’s animated actions has drawn tremendous criticism on Twitter and other social media sites. Sherman said he doesn’t mind the criticism, but he is very concerned about being called a thug. “The reason it bothers me is it seems it’s the accepted way now to call someone the “n” word. They say thug and it takes me aback. I know some real thugs and they know I’m the farthest thing from a thug.”

To understand Richard Sherman you must know where he came from. He grew up in the Compton neighborhood in Los Angeles; a really tough place to grow up. His amazing athletic ability helped him get a scholarship to Stanford, and in the last three years he has emerged as the games’ top cover corner. In three seasons he has twenty interceptions, five more than anybody else in the NFL. When he says he’s the best, he speaks the truth.

Some media pundits have labeled the Super Bowl match-up between Seattle and Denver as the “Villains versus the Virtuous.” Sherman however, doesn’t agree. “That’s hilarious,” Sherman said. “Anytime you label Russell Wilson a villain, it’s a joke. It’s funny.”

Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback came to his teammate’s defense. “Richard is an unbelievable football player. I have tons of respect for him. He plays the game of football with tons of passion and tons of fire. He is one of the most intelligent people you will ever meet. He’s one of my good friends and I love him to death.”

Other nationally known sports figures have also come out in support of Sherman, including Braves’ Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. “There were countless individuals and Hank Aaron was one of them,” Sherman said. “A lot of people reached out with support and I appreciate all of it, people who really know who you are and what you stand for. They are not as quick to judge.”

One of Richard Sherman’s heroes is boxing champ Muhammad Ali and if you saw his interview with Erin Andrews, you likely saw a lot of Ali in him. Remember the interview Ali gave after beating Sonny Liston in 1964 for the heavyweight title? “I must be the greatest thing that ever lived. I don’t have a mark on my face and I just upset Sonny Liston and I just turned 22 years old. I must be the greatest of all-time.” Those comments came just a few minutes after Ali finished off Liston in the seventh round, just like Sherman’s comments came a few moments after his pass deflection in the end zone saved the Seahawks victory.

Like boxing, football is a game of passion. If you don’t have it, you can’t play the sport. Muhammad Ali had it, and so does Richard Sherman. When you corner a passionate player just moments after a battle is won, you’re generally going to get a strange, sometimes controversial answer to any question you ask.

Some call it egotistical, others call it bragging. Whatever it is it made for interesting conversation all week long. As my granddaddy always said, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” Richard Sherman certainly can.     

-----

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson, TN. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Cleveland State Cougars Can't Hang On Against Walters State

Walters State scored six runs in the top of the ninth upending Cleveland State at Cougar Field. The Cougars'  Jake Wyrick  pitched eight innings and took a 4-3 lead into the ninth before being pulled after walking the first batter. The Senators took advantage of Cleveland State's relievers with third baseman Jarrett Hood leading the charge.  Hood hit his second ... (click for more)

Mocs Women's Tennis Blank Western Kentucky 4-0

The UTC women’s tennis team defeated the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers with a score of 4-0 Friday. The Mocs looked determined to get the win this afternoon before they begin their conference schedule on Sunday.  Chattanooga started off strong in the doubles when senior Claire Mulyadi and junior Katie Polk grabbed a quick (8-2) win over Gabby Crofford and Emily Przystawski ... (click for more)

Robber Who Was Shot At Rossville Boulevard Car Lot Dies; No Charges To Be Filed

Police said a person who was shot during a robbery attempt at a car lot at 4314 Rossville Blvd. around 1:50 p.m. on Thursday has died. Police said the shooting has been ruled a "justifiable homicide" and no charges will be brought against 27-year-old Alan Miller. The shooting in which the robbery victim shot the suspect was at Miller Auto Sales. (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Hillman Of Bihar

In the year of our Lord, 1927, there was a very poor child born to a very poor family in a very poor place. His name was Dasrath Manjhi and he was a native of the Musahar community somewhere in India. We know he had no education and, as a member of the lowest Hindu scheduled castes, he didn’t have a cut dog’s chance from the very get go. But after spending considerable time in ... (click for more)