Win. Show. Place.

I’ve done my best to steer clear of all the Richard Sherman talk in wake of his post-game interview after the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers last night. (If you haven’t seen or heard it yet, Google it.) As is par for the course, his outburst spawned dozens of Internet memes and parodies, but also unleashed the hate generally reserved for moments like this, the requisite racist replies and overblown media coverage. Sure, he was loud and brash, but there wasn’t any foul language and the things he said were confined to what takes place on the field. In fact, his was the kind of chest pounding millions of us do weekly as our favorite teams fight for victories and our perceived honor, he just happened to be rich, Black and standing next to a white woman.

If you know anything about Sherman, you know he is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, excelled in two sports at Stanford (two positions in football) and while finishing his career as part of the Cardinal, began courses towards his Master’s degree. We learned something else today, the feud between he and Crabtree extends to an event last offseason at which Crabtree allegedly attempted to start a fight with him after he tried to shake his hand. Funny, Crabtree also mushed Sherman yesterday, once again after he extended his hand, this time minutes before the Fox cameras and microphones were thrust into Sherman’s face. After that sort of battle, the coach or the quarterback is a much better candidate for interviewing, not the guys who spend their time in the trenches. The emotions are too high, the adrenaline still pumping, the memories of last summer too fresh.

However, I find it funny that closing in on 24 hours after the game, this story is still leading SportsCenter as we’re preparing for the Super Bowl and Sherman had to spend his day defending himself and his words, instead of celebrating or preparing to face Peyton Manning. Even funnier, two weeks ago when Charlie Strong was hired as the coach at the University of Texas, comments made by billionaire Texas booster Red McCombs were met with gasps and a few shame on you gestures. McCombs, a booster who’s donated over $100 million to the school, was audibly perplexed at Texas striking out on the “big name” coaches and hiring of Strong, the former Louisville University coach. By the way Strong is Black, not that it should matter, being that he led Louisville to a 37-15 record over the last four years (23-3 the last two seasons), while Texas was 30-21 in that same time frame.

None of that mattered to McCombs at the time, nor did it matter that all of the “big name” coaches turned down what he alleges is one of the top three schools in the country; he was only concerned that Strong was not fit to be the head coach at the University of Texas. In fact, he thought Strong would make “a great position coach, a coordinator maybe”. Seriously? This guy won the Sugar Bowl last year and you’re saying he could be a coordinator, maybe? His remarks were dripping with condescension and the racist undertone that would have been liberating if he had come out and called Strong a darkie or Negra. However, this was second or third segment ESPN, billed as an entitled booster going off the reservation. A couple of apologies, a timely endorsement (suggested donation) and it’s all good in Austin.

Richard Sherman doesn’t have the luxury of the 24-hour news cycle; he’s heading to the Super Bowl. His perceived arrogance and “outburst” is going to be a topic of conversation for the next two weeks. It may not be at the front of the conversation, but it will be mixed in at some point. He’s done a great job of speaking from a cooler head today, not backing off his comments, but giving context to a nation that largely ignores it. Unfortunately, he’s stuck somewhere between the glory of the game and making people pay attention to the name on the jersey not the shield, a definite no-no in the NFL. That is, unless your name is Manning or Brady or even Tebow for that matter.

It’s similar to the way the media dealt with Johnny Manziel and his multiple fractures of the NCAA’s rulebook throughout the summer, until his slap on the wrist of a suspension (the first half of the season opener) was served and then it was back to praise dancing in his name. Conversely, Jadeveon Clowney who’s thisclose to making millions and changing the fortunes of his family, was dogged all season about his effort and whether he was dogging it this season as he closed in on being a top pick in the draft. He didn’t break any rules, only had to abide by the rule that kept him in college for an additional season. Yet, his heart and integrity have been routinely challenged since practice started last summer. I wonder if anyone took into account that Clowney watched on the sideline as former teammate Marcus Lattimore suffered two knee injuries that ended his season and caused the promising running back to fall to the 4th round of the 2013 draft and not play a down this past season.

The big picture shrinks in sight of the big game or the big dollars. The glory of the game seems to rule over much of anything having to do with its participants and the lines that divide offense from defense aren’t nearly as wide as the lines that continue to divide and define us. Richard Sherman stepped to that microphone and said what was on his mind at that exact moment, he didn’t let tired sports clichés loose, he spoke the truth. America has too.

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