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


Randy Smith: SEC Picks Week 1

It's finally here. The week that we've waited months and months for. College football begins tonight, and doesn't let up until Monday. For the second straight year, I will pick the winners in every game involving SEC teams. Last year I correctly picked winners almost 80% of the time, so here we go for 2015! (Thursday) North Carolina @ South Carolina: Steve Spurrier always loves ... (click for more)

Miguel Sano, 2015 ex-Lookout Third Baseman, Named AL Rookie Of The Month

Former Lookouts' third baseman and Minnesota Twins third baseman/designated hitter Miguel Sano has been named the American League Rookie of the Month after leading all AL rookies in runs, home runs, RBIs and walks in August. Sano played for the Chattanooga Lookouts until his promotion to the Twins in early July. While in Chattanooga much of the focus was on Byron Buxton who joined ... (click for more)

Local Religious Group Condemns Hammond Comments, Asks Apology

A local religious group, Mercy Junction and Peace Center, has condemned comments by Sheriff Jim Hammond on Muslims and asked for an apology. The group said, " People of all faiths, or of no faith, are invited to join Mercy Junction in front of the Islamic Society of Chattanooga for prayers on Friday afternoon. "Prayers In Solidarity" will take place outside the Islamic ... (click for more)

Sheriff's Office Releases Names Of 4 Deputies Involved In Shooting After Pursuit

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the four law enforcement personnel involved in the shooting incident of Brent Pickard on Aug. 26. They are Sgt. Gregg Carson, Sgt. Spencer Daniels, Deputy Adam Ty Williams and Deputy Eric Baxter. As per the sheriff's office policy, all four personnel were placed on mandatory administrative leave and have returned ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response (2)

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Five Straight Days Of Football

If I covered my first high school football game as a fledging sports when I was 16 years old, and I am now 66, I figure that’s darn near about a half-century of passes and punts. The mystifying part is that I still get as big of a kick hovering around the game as I did on my very first time so as we usher in the start of the college season with five straight days of games, here ... (click for more)