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Just in case you haven’t heard, Richard Sherman is not a fan of Michael Crabtree. This was made quite apparent Sunday night when the San Francisco 49ers traveled to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in the NFC Championship.
After a very quiet game from Sherman, he made an outstanding play to break up a pass intended for Crabtree — a pass that would have been the game-tying touchdown. The ball was tipped by Sherman and ultimately intercepted by Malcolm Smith, who was trailing the play. This sealed the Seattle win and their second-ever trip to the Super Bowl.
Sherman then found the sullen Crabtree after the play and, while yelling, put out his hand. Crabtree was not so accepting of the handshake invitation and instead pushed Sherman’s face.
As exciting as this game-ending play was, it was merely the appetizer for a brash, over-the-top, WWE-style interview that came moments after the Seahawk victory was sealed.
In Sherman’s postgame rant, he boldly stated, “Well, I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get.”
Hardly words that reflect any sportsmanship, but I don’t mind them. It was an interview immediately postgame, while emotions were still running high. This isn’t the first time an athlete has been outspoken to the point that some call it “classless.”
I, however, do not call it this. I call it bad timing.
He said what was on his mind, and that is perfectly fine. The problem I have with it is that it detracts from the big win the team just had. It takes away from their Super Bowl berth. The media reaction to this is to talk about his comments more than the actual game or more than the Seahawks coming away with a victory.
The timing of the comments is what made this a story, not what he actually said. Nobody cares if he and Michael Crabtree don’t like each other. If Richard Sherman says these things in May, they have far less media impact.
It has since been reported that Sherman’s dislike stemmed from an incident over the past summer between the two, so he has had plenty of chances to mention Crabtree and how he felt. He simply chose a poor time to let the Crab out of the bag, if you will.
Sherman went on to explain his actions when he wrote a column for “Sports Illustrated” Sunday night, saying in part, “It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am. I don’t want to be a villain, because I’m not a villainous person. When I say I’m the best cornerback in football, it’s with a caveat: There isn’t a great defensive backfield in the NFL that doesn’t have a great front seven.”
He has also since apologized by saying, “I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates . . . That was not my intent.”
After all of the uproar, this is all I was looking for from the incident, an apology to teammates for thinking the game, and ultimately the win, was about him and not the team. The incident will be talked about for at least two weeks until the Super Bowl, or until the next athlete makes awkward, meaningless and controversial comments, which unfortunately will probably be sooner rather than later.