Talkin’ Sports: Football & Baseball

Amazing. Two major stories in Seattle sports occurred over the past couple of days and I’m still digesting them.

In football news, the legendary, animated, personable and talented cornerback Richard Sherman was unexpectedly released from my home team, the Seattle Seahawks. Not long afterwards, the announcement was made that Michael Bennett would be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. I am not the only “Number 12” who is surprised and dismayed over the announcement. No real reason has been given yet so we’ll see what excuse is made by management, if any.

* UPDATED Monday, 12 March *
I was reminded of the fact that Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett were two of the most outspoken members of the Seahawks. They weren’t shy about their support of Colin Kaepernick and his silent protest, and the criticism they have received from the knee-jerk reactionaries has been mind-numbingly racist, to say the least.

On a far better note, legendary and talented outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is making a triumphant return to the Seattle Mariners, the team – and city – which welcomed him with open arms when he was brought over from Japan. If nothing else, please read the article in the link. It is very deep and quite poignant; an interesting insight to a fascinating, enigmatic man.

Talkin’ Sports: In Defense of Richard Sherman

I don’t normally come to the defense of celebrities – they don’t give a shit if I like them or not, and I always figure they have plenty of backers so my tiny voice of support won’t be heard. That being said, if I do feel like saying anything about a celeb, positive or not, I use my own blog – I don’t need to harass others elsewhere. They’re entitled to their opinions and I’m entitled to mine. That being said, the explosion about Richard Sherman has been amazing to witness – especially since it’s all “much ado about nothing.”

So, it’s been four days since my Seattle Seahawks narrowly defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a tight, nail-biter of a match-up. I was bursting with pride to see my home team become the NFC champions for the second time since their inception, and am looking forward to seeing them face their former division rivals, the Denver Broncos, in Superbowl XLVIII on Sunday, 2 February.

The game was down to its final seconds when Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, #25, slapped the ball in mid-air in the end zone, a ball thrown by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree. It would certainly have been a winning touchdown for the 49ers! Thankfully, the acrobatic grace and fantastic hands of Sherman snatched the victory for the Seahawks – it was a beautiful thing to see.

Afterwards, Sherman was being interviewed about that play he made. He’s an Aries and was fired up with passion, like any athlete would be after such a hard-won game. I was laughing about the comments he made about Crabtree – I didn’t think anything about them, nor did I find them offensive or tasteless. I and people who felt the way I did are small in number, according to social media trends!

The comments on various sports, news, and other media sites were appallingly racist. Epithets including “angry monkey” were hurled at Sherman in every corner of cyberspace. I can’t say I’m surprised: there are many knee-jerk reactionaries out there who look for minor, meaningless reasons to spew hatred against Black people. I’m saddened, sickened, and a bit angered by that nonsense, but I’m not surprised.

Some guy has paid for a billboard in Denver (no surprise) which shows a still-picture of Sherman’s face during the interview. Next to it, in huge letters, are the words: “No Class.” Of course, they have a picture of one of the Denver players with the words “Class” next to it – at least they can admit that they’re biased!

Keep in mind that people are freaking out over this: Richard Sherman’s post-game interview

What’s funny is that something precipitated Sherman’s outburst, and lends a bit of credence as to why he said what he said – which, keep in mind, really wasn’t out of turn.

VIDEO: Sherman and Crabtree

After the play that sealed the win for the Seahawks, Sherman went over to Crabtree, gave him a slap on the butt, and said “Hell of a game!” He then held out his hand to Crabtree in a display of very SPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT. Crabtree, in a fit of loser pique, shoved Sherman’s head away and stalked off. So let’s get this straight, kiddies: CRABTREE was the unsportsmanlike one, NOT SHERMAN. Sherman had congratulated other 49ers with no issues, so he wasn’t jumping around and being a complete dick as many people presume. He is a professional athlete who was excited and happy about being a key part of a major victory. Being called the worst, racist names possible, for doing nothing more than celebrating a championship win and calling out someone else’s jackhole behaviour, is testament to the hatred that festers in many hearts.

Sherman was correct in this astute assessment: “ ‘Thug’ is an acceptable way to call someone the ‘n-word.’ ” It’s true – ‘thug’ is the new code-word for so-called ‘race realists’ to use. Trayvon Martin was given the ‘thug’ label by the racists who believe that he deserved to die. Anytime a Black male athlete, actor, musician, or other high-profile profession makes the news, he is given the ‘thug’ label no matter what. The word is usually spouted off along with strawmen such as the vile effects of ‘hip-hop culture’ and ‘single mothers,’ which are touted as reasons for ‘Black dysfunction.’ These are political buzzwords which create division and solve nothing…

Digressing – I think that Richard Sherman deserves a huge apology. He has worked long and hard to get to where he is today, and deserves a great deal of respect. He is an upstanding citizen with no criminal record whatsoever. He is educated and well-spoken. He doesn’t have a string of kids with a dozen different women. He isn’t some self-absorbed asshole like Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco; he isn’t a steroid-popping junkie, and he isn’t a bully or a murderer. He’s one of the good guys – and he still gets treated like shit, solely because of the colour of his skin. Stand tall, proud, and strong, Mr. Sherman. Don’t let the small-minded haters ruin your moment in the sun. When a man of respect and talent such as “Hammering” Hank Aaron is in your corner, you know that you are in the right.

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