As is often the case I have been caught in my own bubble and have missed out on some of the awesome happenings from this weekend. Vegas will do that to you.
However, thanks to the wonder of the internet and my best buddy Alex I have finally caught up on what the rest of you all have already come to grow sick of — Richard Sherman’s epic rant after left-handedly guiding his Seattle Seahawks into the Super Bowl and a date with the NFL’s ultimate humble hero, Peyton Manning, and the Denver Broncos.
Enjoy (before the NFL takes it down…)
There are many things about this episode that we could discuss — the freakish athleticism of the actual play, the obvious rivalry between RS and Michael Crabtree, the “responsibility” athletes have to be good role models, for example. But the one that keeps playing over and over in my mind is the sentiment that seemingly hundreds of people share, including Golden State Warrior Andre Igoudala: Richard Sherman set black people back 500 years.
Really? 500 years Andre? Somehow on the weekend we celebrate Martin Luther King and all he accomplished, are black people worse off because some brash young Stanford alum had the nerve to talk shit after making the play of his life? Good Lord, someone tell Barack Obama he needs to give up the presidency and go pick some cotton. Someone go get Oprah and put her in the real Color Purple.
Since when does Richard Sherman speak for all black people? (Let’s assume for this paragraph that what he said and did was wrong). Why does that reflect on all of us? My mother didn’t raise him. Hell, I didn’t even see the game. Why do we feel the need to own the actions of every person who shares a similar pigment with us? This is one of the greatest traps of being a minority; by feeling personally affronted by RS’s rant, one takes ownership of it. Here’s the real truth: if someone judges you because of something another black person did, they are racist and you should probably care a little less about his or her opinion.
Did Sherman do something wrong? Why is it a big deal that he called out Michael Crabtree? Maybe he needed to be called out. Maybe Richard Sherman really is the best in the world. Maybe when you pay a man eight figures to wear tights and play catch you should expect his ego to be a little dominant. Maybe it’s even okay to have an instinctual reaction right after doing something monumental and career-defining.
Speaking for one black person, my butt is not hurt because Sherman showed his ass. Maybe you agree. Maybe you don’t. I actually do not care. That is the point. We are each entitled to our opinion. And in Dick’s opinion he is the best and Mike should never say another word about him. So there Mike. You got served.
Let’s be real. There are a million things that could “set black people back” more quickly than this cocky cornerback — things like under-educating our kids, like gang violence, like unequal funding for schools and businesses in certain neighborhoods, like long-held cultural stereotypes that we each share the exact same value system because of our race.
My name is Julian Michael. Among many other things, I am black. I don’t like the Seahawks. But I’ll be cheering for Richard Sherman just in case he gets the chance to top himself and say something even wilder. Something like, “I’m going to Disneyland and tell that m)#@$$#)#*# Mickey to keep my name out his g-d mouth.” But I know he won’t because society will demand an apology and browbeat him back into submission like a…well like someone from 500 years ago.