Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates on the field after the Seahawks defeat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the 2014 NFC Championship at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman regrets that his outburst in a postgame interview Sunday put the focus on him and took away from the performance of his teammates that helped the team earn a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII.
But if you think that's going to change his persona going forward, well, you don't know Richard Sherman.
"I really don’t know how to be anybody else. I can only be myself," Sherman said Wednesday in his first press conference since the postgame remarks with FOX's Erin Andrews directed at WR Michael Crabtree that drew a wave of attention in the aftermath of the game.
Sherman made the play of the game - with a little assistance from LB Malcolm Smith - that cemented the Seahawks trip to New York for the Super Bowl.
QB Colin Kaepernick threw for Crabtree on a fade route with Sherman in tight coverage. Despite a push to the right shoulder of Sherman from Crabtree, Sherman managed to contort his body and deflect the pass skyward. Smith settled underneath the ball and intercepted it in the end zone to preserve a 23-17 victory for Seattle.
But in his interview with Andrews after the game, Sherman called out Crabtree.
"I'm the best corner in the game,'' Sherman screamed into the camera. "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."
The focus then became on Sherman's remarks as he continued to call Crabtree "mediocre" in his postgame press conference.
Sherman said he was surprised how much the story had blown up in the media over something said in the heat of the moment on a football field, minutes after clinching the biggest victory of his young career.
"If I would’ve really known it was going to blow up like that I probably would’ve approached it differently just in terms of the way it took away from my teammates’ great games," Sherman said.
"Kam Chancellor played a fantastic football game. He had an interception and huge plays in the game and played almost a perfect ball game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 100 yards plus and had a great touchdown run. Bobby Wagner had 15 tackles, so many people played so many great games that you would think the stories would be about them. So that’s the only thing I feel kind of regretful about."
Sherman also became the focus in social media as many called him "classless," "a thug" or worse.
Sherman said he didn't appreciate being called a thug as he feels the connotation that goes with it is much more hateful than it may appear on the surface.
"The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the n-word nowadays. It’s like everyone else says the n-word, and then they say thug and they’re like oh that’s fine," Sherman said.
He also disagrees with the idea he's a villain.
"I don’t think I’m a villain," Sherman said. "I always say the old cliché, don’t judge a book by its cover, but they’re judging a book by its cover, they’re judging me off of the football field, on the football during a game, right after a game, and they’re not judging me off of who I am.
"Now if I had got arrested ten times, or committed all of these crimes, or got suspended for fighting off of the field and all of that, then I could accept being a villain, but I’ve done nothing villainous."
Sherman handled all the questions about the interview and the ensuing response to it. Now the incident may finally be put into the rear-view mirror so the team can focus on their game with the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2.
Or at least until Super Bowl Media Day next Tuesday.