Skip to Content

Freedom Rider: Richard Sherman and America’s Sickness

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

White NFL fans blow hot and cold when it comes to their feelings about Black players. Idolatry turned quickly to hate when Richard Sherman forgot his “place.” The psycho-fanatic twitter mob “called Sherman a nigger, a thug, a gorilla, and a porch monkey who ought to be lynched.”

 

Freedom Rider: Richard Sherman and America’s Sickness

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Black sports heroes may be idolized, but they are still black and are reminded as such.”

America is a nation addicted to racism and to the denial of many horrible realities. The result is a population living in fantasy and reveling in trivialities. These tendencies sometimes merge into a firestorm of controversies which while irrelevant may also say a lot about the terrible state of the American consciousness.

The latest such incident came about because of a football game. The National Football League is the most popular of all professional sports in this country and 66% of its players are African American. These factoids bring out the schizophrenia inherent in a racist society. Black sports heroes may be idolized, but they are still black and are reminded as such if they stray too far from the bounds of behavior considered acceptable by white people.

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks is the latest example of the admired black man who gets less love when he doesn’t behave as he is told he should. Sherman played a key role in a game winning play in the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. When white, blonde reporter Erin Andrews approached Sherman after the game and asked about what transpired, Sherman responded with great intensity and words which are thought but rarely spoken.

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks is the latest example of the admired black man who gets less love when he doesn’t behave as he is told.”

“Let me ask you about that play. Take me through it.”

“Well I’m the best corner [back] in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like [Michael] Crabtree that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me!”

“Who was talking about you?”

“Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best. Or I’ll shut it for you real quick. LO.B.!” (Legion Of Boom is the Seahawks defense.)

“And… well… Joe back over to you.”

Sherman skipped the clichés and said what was on the mind of a competitive and aggressive man who just helped win a big game. It was not what most people would say on live television but that should hardly be newsworthy.

Of course what logically shouldn’t be an issue became a national contretemps. Social media lit up as if something serious had happened on the planet and a drugged and deadened populace awakened with as much excitement as Sherman displayed on the air. White people were predictably horrified that the black man yelled in the vicinity of a white woman. It is obvious from the video that he didn’t yell at her, he merely responded to her question while looking straight into the camera. Andrews seemed slightly taken aback but didn’t clutch her pearls and faint because a black man raised his voice.

Some were embarrassed about the athlete’s interview and accused Sherman of being clownish, coonish, minstrel-like, ghetto, and ungracious in victory.”

You wouldn’t know that from the twitter rages of white America who called Sherman a nigger, a thug, a gorilla, and a porch monkey who ought to be lynched. Black people also played their part in the soap opera. Some were embarrassed about the athlete’s interview and accused Sherman of being clownish, coonish, minstrel-like, ghetto, and ungracious in victory.

Other black people rightly defended Sherman from attack but for all the wrong reasons. They felt the need to point out that he grew up in a hard working two-parent family, graduated at the top of his high school class and went on to the prestigious Stanford University.

Of course it shouldn’t matter how Sherman grew up or where or if he graduated from college. He did nothing wrong except make many white people mad and that is all that should have been pointed out. Respectability politics are deadly and keep black people from speaking up for one another and against blatant racism.

Sports are said to bring people together but they are also used to make people conform to nonsensical codes of behavior. Sherman was said to lack “class” because of his interview and because he boldly indicated that his opponents choked. The word class is one of the most over used in sports and ridiculous when used to talk about professional football. It is an enormously profitable business which is unbelievably also a non-profit corporation. Its actions are not those indicative of good sportsmanship.

Not only are they physically battered but they are not treated well psychologically either.”

The NFL recently reached a $765 million agreement with retired players as compensation for brain damage caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition which causes Alzheimer’s disease symptoms in young men. Former star players are now living with severe memory loss and serious physical ailments as a result of injuries sustained while playing football.

During the same game that made Richard Sherman a household name, another black man, Navorro Bowman, was carried off the field after suffering a horrific knee injury. That is the plight of the black men in the NFL. They have made a Faustian bargain in order to earn an average salary of $1.9 million per year. Not only are they physically battered but they are not treated well psychologically either.

Earlier this season, Jonathan Martin left the Miami dolphins after suffering hazing and threats at the hands of a white teammate. When the Martin story broke, some of his black teammates criticized him and not his white tormentor. Martin was accused of being “weak” and was advised to “keep it in house” and “man up.” We were told that the NFL locker room culture is a distinct and wonderful place which shouldn’t be questioned by outsiders. It was incredibly sad to hear black athletes talking about themselves like old time white segregationists pleading with the world to let them keep their way of life.

Former player turned actor Terry Crews commented on the incident by describing football as being like a prison. “The NFL is like jail with money. It really is. There is a culture of intimidation, humiliation and violence.” It seems that Sherman said out loud what is said behind closed doors in the football world.

It is all incredibly pathetic. A business earns many millions of dollars by destroying men’s lives. They are then dragged kicking and screaming to make restitution while enabling a culture which exists only in a prison yard.

The NFL is like jail with money.”

The arrangement is fine with most people. They identify with their teams and hate others and are joined in their feelings with total strangers. It supposedly brings us together until someone shows the dark underbelly.

Richard Sherman isn’t a villain but he isn’t a hero either. He chose a very grueling line of work which may damage him physically and mentally. He should enjoy his moments of glory because he will inevitably end up with a career life span that is a fraction of what most people will have. His salary is higher than most American’s but at $555,000 is below average in the league.

As for the millions of people who will watch him play in the Super Bowl championship game, they need to think more seriously about other things. They need to ask themselves why the federal judge overseeing the CTE settlement declined to give preliminary approval. Among other concerns, Judge Anita Brody does not believe that the settlement will adequately compensate all former players. She also said that the NFL had failed to provide her with the financials she requested. In other words, the league doesn’t want to pay for the damage it has done.

Football is not very classy. Not classy at all.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

Share this

Comments

no big deal

The guy makes the play of the game and crabtree insults him. Of course, he is cranked up and pissed off. He said nothing wrong, I actually thought it was pretty funny, especially the "sorry receiver" part. If you can't handle the testosterone, keep out of the way.

Sherman Keeps It Real.

I'm glad Hank Aaron spoke out and gave his support to Sherman. He, of course, knows the real deal. For those who don't know about him, check out what he went thru when he was about to break Babe Ruth's hallowed homerun record. Yes, he can relate.

Being lead down the Prim Rose Path

Hank Aaron wasn't taunting another player much less engaging in a public smackdown when he broke the Single Season Home Run Record held by Babe Ruth. Read what Nixakliel wrote. Sherman earned the right to rub Michael Crabtree's nose in it on the field after there altercation. But that doesn't mean it was the best thing to do. I have a very hard time believing that Sherman's pat of Crabtree's butt and "Good game" comment were sincere. Sherman is on record as stating the Choke Sign he flashed was not to Crabtree but Colin Kaepernick. Is throwing a pass to a receiver a DB is covering a personal insult to that defensive back ? It's clear to me Sherman was going to everything he could to savor the moment and extract his pound of flesh. He was entitled to do that.

Taking the smackdown to the post game interview represented poor judgement. As soon as I saw that I knew the Media would lap it up and make it the story line for the next 2 weeks. I haven't followed any form of football for the last 12 years. I happened to be at a relative who had the game on. These Media Circuses are easy to spot miles away. Again it's Sherman's right but along with the attention comes the crap.

Sherman's decision to continue the Smackdown on Twitter was an open invitation to every Racist, Crank and Nutball to let lose on him. That doesn't justify the shit but after having time to reflect most would know when to call it quits Sherman chose otherwise. Anyone that follows the phenomenon of Social Media knows there are 10s of thousands of fake and phoney IDs that have been setup for all sorts of nefarious purposes, many by the Police State to agitate groups as a means of smoking out information. If Sherman doesn't know that Social Media is a Zoo and was genuinely surprised by the reaction he received that doesn't say much about a Stanford University Education now does it ?

It's amazing how the populous of this country can be lead around by the nose on these issues time after time after time. We' ve had fierce fighting in South Sudan for several months, a new outbreak of fighting in Southern Libya in the last 2 weeks, news that was released last week that US Troops were secretly reintroduced into Somalia last November, and a new US Cruise Missile attack in Somalia over the weekend. Does anyone think the talking heads on tv will bring up those matters when they do their theater critic crap after the State of the Union ? Obama sure as hell won't bring it up but I wouldn't be surprised he makes some sort of reference to this sorry charade going on about last week's game.

Only 6 more days left of this junk !

Good Points

Of course Hank Aaron and Richard Sherman are different: different times, personalities, circumstances, etc. I just pointed out the common thread of racism that undergirds the sports culture as it relates to black athletes. Whether you agree or disagree with the antics of Sherman is not the issue. The issue is the lens that white America has focused on blacks at all times to either denigrate or control us. You make many great points for which I don't have time to reply. We do have much larger problems to address than sports such as the conflicts in Africa as you stated, but sports remain an integral part of this culture and are linked to politics in many ways as is art. I enjoyed reading your response; it gave me something to think about and will keep me on my toes!

The Nigger Comment Came from a Jew

Interesting that Ms. Kimberly faults whites for the Nigger comment posted by the Jew Steve Fleishman.  Since Jews don't identify as White and since  Jews was most responsible for slavery and the retardation of Black Ameica one has to question the constant identification of White Racism but nary a word or remarks regarding Jewish power and Jewish supremacism that pervades America, controls Obama, and much of the Western leadership.  Jews control the media and the culture thus is it fitting that Fleishman felt confortable labeling Sharman a "nigger".

The problem with the Black "Left" is that they have a profound blind spot to Jewish racism and supremacy and tend to blame "Whites" for the action and power of Jews.  It is high time that BAR take off the blinders and start analyzing the true role of Jewry and their historic role in the retardation of Black America.

Standing Tall

As the game ended I headed to get a drink of water...  Then I hear Sherman start to speak and I obviously stopped in my tracks and turned back toward the TV.   Of course I didn't expect the interview to go the way it did.  Brother Richard was clearly still TURNED UP from having helped get his team to the super bowl.  Hence the high level of intensity being put into every word.   Having said that, Sherman did nothing wrong.  I would agree it was unexpected,  but to read and watch black media personnel berate him was ridiculous to watch.   

 

Football

White people that watch football, in general, likely possess the lowest level of intellect in the country.

My Problem With Richard Sherman

I don't care what white media or cowardly keyboard hoodlums have to say about him. I only care about how Sherman conducted himself after the game. I don't even have a problem with the interview tirade. My beef with Sherman is that he continues to be a sore winner. His routine after big wins seems to be rubbing it in his opponents faces so much that HE IS LITERALLY IN THEIR FACES! He's done this to Tom Brady, to the Redskins last year in the playoffs (and got a pie-face for it) and now here with Crabtree.

Many black kids without guidance will see this type of adrenaline infused braggadocio behavior and begin to associate it with being black. I think it's great that he went to Stanford from such insurmountable odds but his educational background doesn't excuse his immaturity and lack of grace after winning.

Plain and simple this kid needs to grow up already. With that said, the tirade wasn't that bad and actually is to be expected when a player is excited after just coming off of the field.

Yeah, I Thought the Young Bro Made a Good Play But...

For him to get all in the his opponent's face w the choke sign, & Hype himself up w 'I'm the best corner in the game' - uhm dude take a chill pill. 

The Great ones don't even have to hype how great they are. I saw Dr J make one the most amazingly great moves in the history of basketball [his legendary baseline move]. Yet when he floated behind the backboard from one side to the other & he just watched it go in like it was just a regular move, something he just did all the time & ran back down court to play defense w absolutely no hype.    

When Hank Aaron broke the 'Babe's' all-time homerun record he litterally had death-threats out on him from racist white fanatics, yet he went out there & broke the record like a regular day in the park & the rest is 'History'. 

 

That being said, though I'm not a WWF wrestling fan, I've seen enough to know white wrestlers woof & brag like this young bro did all the time on GP [but unlike Sherman most of that WWF hype is staged], yet NO one seems get all bent out of shape about all their woofing & braggadocia- in fact that's what their mainly white fans expect.    

I Stand Corrected!!!

Just watched the mic'd up version of the play and it seems all that Sherman said was 'Hell of a game' to Crabtree and got pushed in his facemask for it. In Crabtree's defense, it was right after the play and he was likely upset but still I can't roast Sherman for it either. Goes to show you that you can't always trust what you see when you can't hear as well.

Funny you say that about wrestling...

because a friend and I joked that if he would've added a Ric Flair styled 'Whoooooo' after the tirade white people would've understood what was going on.

As I said I didn't have a problem with the post-game interview, I just can't stand the 'I'm all up in-your-face if we win' thing. I realize now that Sherman could've calculated the entire post-game thing because he has a new 'Beats by Dre' ad circulating and this hoopla increases his exposure. Just PLEASE stay out of opponents faces after wins. It truly IS classless behavior to do that. Imagine if Seattle loses the Super Bowl and Demaryius Thomas gets all up in Sherman's face after the game. I'm willing to bet Sherman wouldn't like it at all himself.

Always being in opponents faces

I understand that people will attack Sherman for that behavior when they think he's just being an a-hole. The thing about that is Sherman "gets in the face of" people who trash talks him. Brady went up to Sherman and Earl Thomas when the Patriots were winning and began trash talking them. Brady told the two to come see him after the Patriots win. The Patriots lost, but Sherman still went to talk to Brady and even carried it to twitter. & yes Sherman did get pushed in his face after the Redskins game, but right before that incident Sherman was shaking hands with Redskins players and told one Redskins player "Hell of a game, boy. Way to work out there." Before he could turn around Trent Williams was already bumping his back ready to throw down, they had their moment then right after that incident someone told Sherman RG3 wanted to talk to him. Sherman went right back up amongst the Redskins players and hugged RG3 and told RG3 he's been proud of him since he spurned the Seahawks. Then he told RG3 to "go get that thang healed up." Sherman doesn't just attack people out of the blue or go around rubbing his team's victories in opponents faces, but that's how people like to perceive him.
 Just as he told Crabtree hell of a game after the play and everyone just assumed he was being "Ole' trash talking Richard Sherman." He has a target on his back and an image people want to saddle him with. I'm not saying he never starts anything, but just to assume all he does is one thing I think is a bit unfair.

Will Sherman Learn being Classy & Low Key is Career Insurance

2 of the all time football greats, Walter Payton & Barry Sanders, were truely amazing runners whose moves could literally have guy's falling all over themselves & [in Sanders case] literally tackling air. But one of the keys to their long careers was they seldom got in their opponents' faces to 'rub it in'. In fact these 2 brothers would seldom even spike the ball after their many spectacular TD runs. They'd just hand the ball to the ref or give it to one their team-mates [usually an offensive lineman] & let them spike the ball. Because Payton & Sanders carried it so low-key & classy, they seldom had opponents that went out of their way 'gunning for em'.  FYI: There're all kinds of ways somebody can 'take you out' in football- if you go out of your way to piss em off [even to the point of ending your career]. Hopefully Young Bro Sherman will learn this lesson- it could help prolong his career.

The Richard Sherman Affair

Well said Sister Margaret. Racist whites, the most violent group of people in the history of humanity, are always projecting onto their victims, qualities they themselves have, but pretend not to. Of course, they are in no position to question anyone's humanity.
Their inhumanity directed at Richard Sherman for something as innocuous as an emotional, smack talking outburst, merely reflects the dangerousness of their pretensions. These are the same pretensions that gave us Christopher Columbus and the genocides in the Americas, the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, Jim Crow, Nazi Germany, the State of Israel, the Vietnam War, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and in time, there will be more to add to the list, I assure you.

Less than 100 years ago Richard Sherman would be hanging from a tree by now, but in the era of instant electronic mass media, physical lynching is now being supplemented with "virtual" lynching. We should admire Richard Sherman for the way he has defended himself against these racist and inane attacks. He is an intelligent Brother (and very underpaid, earning only $550,000 a year) who obviously has done nothing wrong but be "emotional" in a sport where emotionalism and smack talking are encouraged, and where bodies (as you have pointed out) are broken every time football players take to the field, with hardly any mention.

It has recently been revealed that both Michael Crabtrea and Richard Sherman were mic'd throughout the game, obviously in anticipation that some smack talking was going to take place! Would be interesting to read the transcript of what they were saying. A lot worse I'm sure. Richard Sherman's crime it seems, was not that he talked smack, but that he boldly and angrily expressed it.

Bold (uppity) and angry Black men whether threatening or not, has never been tolerated within the white psychopathic racial personality. It evokes a visceral and murderous reaction these whites have difficulty controlling. And we're suppose to be the emotional ones.

 

Bonafide Racists - The Only Racists

I suspect, in the majority of cases when racist commentary circulates on the internet, it is started by bonafide racists.  It is then fueled by other groups who have been brainwashed by the bonafides.  This only takes place on the internet where identities are hard to determine.  In other words, I'm always skeptical when, based on internet responses, it is said, other groups said something or are participating, because who knows the real source and the real identity of internet responders.

We love you Richard

Where these racist get these names from?  These racist are the worse thing on the planet, and got the nerve to hate us.  Nothing but decendants of slave driving, slave holders.

If this guy had said the same

If this guy had said the same things on the field or sidelines people would be cheering his trash talk.  Why is he being excorciated for an obvious emotional outburst due to making the big play that sends team to the Super Bowl?  This is example #101 that the sports industry needs an "austerity" program:  cut a few thousand or so broadcasting/print/social media gigs.  All these 24/7 mediums with time to fill and they take every little damn thing and blow it up into the crisis/scandal/gossip of the century.  And now I hear that he apologized?  He shouldn't have.  Just like Rodman and his NBA entourage shouldn't be getting raked over the coals by the POS on CNN, Sherman doesn't owe anyone an explanation.  I haven't given a shit who wins the Super Bowl in years but I will be rooting like hell for Sherman and the Seahawks on Feb 2.

More on CNN:  Check out Leid Stories (prn.fm, click Our Shows, click Leid Stories,  listen to Jan 10, 13, 15 shows.  The ado over Rodman and company's trip to N Korea is similar to what is happening to Sherman.  Listen as CNN's excuses for journalists rake these guys over the coals while  the guys act like scolded kids (this due to their ignorance over what is going on out here; if they read BAR or Counterpunch, they would have wiped the floor with CNN crew's asses).

Well said, freedom rider!

Yes, this is a beautiful story, this sums it all up. They can't live without us, I mean literally, we're their playthings, their experiments, and the rules are always changing. Peter King, one of the most respected wrtiters on football, in an ESPN radio interview, even had the nerve to negatively compare football to the practically all white NHL, he said the NHL "gets it right" by having the teams shake each others hands after each game, the implication being that THEY can act like barbarians and fight and carry on, because they shake hands at the end, "they're so classy"!  Sherman did nothing wrong, period, and its further evidence of the conspiracy against black men, that he was forced to later apologize. I wish he hadnt done that in any form, it wasnt needed.



Clicky Web Analytics
blog | by Dr. Radut