Richard Sherman tipped away the game’s final pass, which lead to a NFC Championship-clinching interception. He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, and after the game was over he provided enough media content to last the entire “dead week” before the Seahawks and Broncos head to New York.
Sherman didn’t just fill notepads and provide several soundbites, he even wrote a piece himself after the game for Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback site. He’s been writing columns for The MMQB all season, I believe (I haven’t felt the need to stay updated on his thoughts up to this point in the season). At the same time, today’s column was full of some good points and some questionable justification for acting the way he did after both the play and the game.
I spent most of the game on an island: I was targeted only twice during the entire NFC Championship. The first produced a BS holding call against me; the second ended the game. Michael Crabtree stutter-stepped out of his break on first down and sprinted toward the end zone. I was in good position for a pick until he pushed me in the back. My interception became a tip and an interception for Malcolm Smith in the end zone.
The first sentence was correct, at least to my eye. The second sentence about the “BS holding call” was ridiculous, because he had his hands on Crabtree throughout the entire play. However, Sherman is far from the first athlete to foul or interfere with an opposing player and claim he did nothing wrong. The third sentence was correct. The fourth sentence was a bit of an exaggeration, because while Crabtree put his arm against Sherman’s back there didn’t appear to be a push. That sounds more like an excuse as to why he needed a teammate’s help to complete the interception.
Erin Andrews interviewed me after the game and I yelled what was obvious: If you put a subpar player across from a great one, most of the time you’re going to get one result. As far as Crabtree being a top-20 NFL receiver, you’d have a hard time making that argument to me. There are a lot of receivers playing good ball out there, and Josh Gordon needed 14 games to produce almost double what Crabtree can do in a full season. And Gordon had Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell playing quarterback.
Crabtree was 14th in receiving yards last season, 11th in touchdown receptions and 13th in receptions. Not top-20? Okay. Crabtree had 1,105 yards in his last full season (2012), while Gordon had 1,646 yards this season. Almost double? Okay.
I ran over to Crabtree to shake his hand but he ignored me. I patted him, stuck out my hand and said, “Good game, good game.” That’s when he shoved my face, and that’s when I went off.
Above Sherman’s piece on The MMQB, there’s an outstanding photo that makes Sherman look like the victim. There he is, with an arm outstretched wishing to shake Crabtree’s hand, and Crabtree is shoving Sherman’s face away. When Sherman says he “patted him,” this is what he meant.
After the play, Crabtree walked toward the 49ers sideline with his head down. Sherman ran up from behind and patted him on the rear, then he circled around Crabtree, started talking and stuck his hand out.
Just speaking for myself … if someone who just defeated me slapped my ass and requested a handshake afterward, they wouldn’t be receiving a handshake. Also, the offer of a handshake was probably not an innocent gesture based on what Sherman and his brother have been talking about in the hours since the game’s conclusion.
From the Mercury News:
Branton Sherman did not witness the encounter firsthand. The description below is based on Sherman’s recounting in a private conversation with his brother.
“Richard was at the charity event with people like Snoop Dog and (former 49ers receiver) Kyle Williams,” Branton Sherman said. “Richard’s a friendly guy, and he saw them sitting around a pool and went over to shake everyone’s hand.
“When he got to Crabtree, Crabtree slapped Richard’s hand away and stood up like he wanted to fight. Everyone was like, ‘Calm down, Crabtree.’ Richard said, ‘Why are you tripping out. We’re off the field.’
“Crabtree wanted to fight but everyone got in the way and backed him down.
“Richard told me about it down the road. He told me he would do Crabtree in the media, and he did. (FOX) caught him right after the game.
“They have a personal vendetta against each other.”
Reached Monday morning, Williams acknowledged that he attended the charity event.
The former Arizona State receiver considers Crabtree to be “like a brother” and has known Sherman, a Stanford graduate, since they played against each other in college five years ago.
“I’m not going to get into specifics,” Williams said. “Those guys” — Richard and Branton Sherman — “can say whatever they want.”
So we’re supposed to believe a secondhand story about how Crabtree was looking for a fight at an event that took place sometime “last summer.” Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon in May.
It’s fine that Sherman and Crabtree don’t like each other, but I’d caution against accepting the Shermans’ version of the events.
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What are your thoughts on Richard Sherman’s actions yesterday?
This conversation has devolved, in large part because some fans are fond of overusing the word “thug” in a sporting context. So I’ll get this out of the way from the beginning: anything that borders on sounding racist will be deleted. I believe that trash talk is part of American football (and most team sports, for that matter), but Sherman’s actions are up for criticism because his desire to gain publicity is so obvious.
That’s why his new Beats ad that played yesterday was so ridiculous. As if Sherman would ever willfully turn away from microphones and cameras.
If you’re too tired after yesterday’s action to write a lengthy response, don’t fret. Your comment can be as short as the one made by Donte Whitner, who had this to say about Sherman in the locker room today.