UPDATE: Sherman Fined By NFL For Unsportsmanlike Conduct On Field

Richard-sherman-618x400At the risk of intruding upon our weekend bloggers, I wanted to post an update to our prior posting on the Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman has now been fined by the NFL, not for his infamous post-game interview, but his unsportsmanlike conduct on the field after the final play against the San Francisco 49ers. He will pay almost $8000 for his taunting of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. As someone who has long objected to increasing example of poor sportsmanship (as well as excessive celebration) incidents in football, I believe the fine is well deserved, though (as I previously stated) I felt Crabtree also acted in a rude manner in refusing to shake Sherman’s hand and shoving Sherman’s face mask. I would have liked to see him fined as well.

I thought the earlier discussion over Sherman was interesting in the sharp difference in how his interview was perceived on this blog. I continue to view Sherman’s conduct in that interview to be disgraceful and unprofessional. I do not believe that it is racist to describe a player screaming at an interviewer and into a camera in this way as “thuggish.” I was surprised by many who not only stated that they felt that the conduct was acceptable but by those who said that they liked this type of trash talking. Sitting with my kids and watching the game, I did not view the interview as “thrilling” but obnoxious. In my view, this is a controversy that turns not on the different way people view race but the different way people view conduct. For some, those issues are inextricably linked and race is distorting the view of the conduct. I found many of those views to be insightful. There are clearly racists who came out in this debate, but I do not believe that the majority of people objecting to Sherman’s rant were acting out of some latent racist motivation. I also do not believe that to call out a black athlete for such conduct must only be due to latent racism. I truly believe that a white player would have been similarly criticized by many of those objecting to this incident. Sherman went directly from an unprofessional taunt on the field to an unprofessional rant on television. His conduct warranted condemnation and, as discussed earlier, this is not a free speech issue.

We have criticized people of all races on this blog for uncivil and “thuggish” conduct. It does not matter that Sherman has a degree from Stanford or that he has an impressive life story. He is an adult and his conduct on the field and in the interview was disgraceful for a professional athlete in my opinion. He certainly has company in this ignoble group, but that does not excuse his conduct.

As I mentioned earlier, I thought it was great that the Seahawks have cracked down on thugs in the stadium who taunt and harass visitors from other teams. If this effort is going to successful, the players need to be held to a minimal standard of conduct on the field. Otherwise, we will allow this game (like other games) to decline to the lowest common denominator of conduct.

Obviously, for those who said that they like to see this type of trash talking or that they believe it is too late to conform the conduct of professional athletes, this is a rather moot point. However, I do not. I have long criticized the decline of civility and basic norms of conduct in our society. That may certainly make me prissy or old-fashioned in the view of many. I must admit that I find myself in a diminishing minority. For those of us who hold to such views, Sherman’s taunting on the field and screaming in the interview was all too familiar and outside of the bounds of professional conduct.

I believe that Sherman should have been reprimanded by the team for the interview as unprofessional and unbecoming for a member of the Seahawks (while the interview occurred on the field and he was in his uniform, it is not subject to the NFL rule or fines). Clearly, many disagree and I am glad that we can discuss those different views on this blog without personal animus or assuming the worst motivations of people. There are good faith views on both sides of this controversy. Issues that touch on race produce strong passions as well as strong rhetoric in such debates. We should not shy away from discussing such issues on this blog but we should show that such discussions can occur without labeling people on the other side as necessarily racists or apologists.

The fine was well deserved for the taunting. A fine against Crabtree would be equally well deserved. I fail to understand why his shoving of the face mask was not denounced and penalized.

117 thoughts on “UPDATE: Sherman Fined By NFL For Unsportsmanlike Conduct On Field”

  1. Sometimes children have neither parent and turn out well…. Sometimes they have both parents and they turn out a mess…. Sometimes all they need is one parent…. Then again I am lucky to be involved in my children’s life…. And Christmas was wonderful…… Still trying to make it personal are we?

  2. “Thug” derives from the “Thuggee,” an Indian sect devoted to Kali, the goddess of death. The thuggee would honor Kali by robbing and killing travellers on the highway: rapacious violence under the color of religion. The colonial English declared war on the thuggee, and eliminated them. Outside the USA, the term “thug” remains an apt descriptor for (uss. males) who engage in violence, bullying and intimidation, irrespective of race. In the USA, it appears that the “thug” moniker became associated with African Americans through hip-hop celebration of “thug life.” That said, the word still has an original and accurate meaning that pertains to certain behavior, irrespective of race. If people object to accurate use of the term, they need to get a life.

  3. Yep, they were privileged in that they were intelligent and they had a least one hard working parent to guide them….. kind of like Sherman.

  4. White bread is still white bread regardless how you wanna slice it…… I imagine that there are just as many races that consider those described as privileged….. Not necessarily the way you’ve defined white privilege. …..

  5. oops in the hood. Also i have one lifetime Guyanese friend that is a professor in California. Worked his way up through scholarships. He has a beautiful home much nicer than any home that I have lived in. Many people have defied the stereotypes that some here want to cast them into.

  6. I have black, hispanic and asian friends that are doctors and lawyers. They don’t live the hood. Assuming minorities live in ghettos is more of the same. I think this discussion has detieriorated into further cultural stereotyping.

  7. AY,

    “Exactly labeling is the issue …. When I heard thug I invision Cagney the gangster…. The first thing that does not pop to my mind is a black person….”

    Maybe when you hear the word “thug” a black person doesn’t come to mind. That doesn’t mean that some white people didn’t call Sherman a thug because he is a black man.

  8. Elaine,

    Exactly labeling is the issue …. When I heard thug I invision Cagney the gangster…. The first thing that does not pop to my mind is a black person….

    When you label that’s where the issue becomes the issue….. But then again there are some that just hate the fact that they are rich white and privileged that they deflect there guilt on to the whole world….. As being a disease…. And evil….. I don’t think they would give up the neighborhood for the hood…. They is too uppty for that ghetto scene….

  9. AY,

    Maybe some would not put a label on the way people look at things. We do, however, perceive things through our own personal lens. I’m not black. I’m not a man. I didn’t grow up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in this country. I don’t play the rough sport of football. What I did before making a snap judgment about Richard Sherman was to find out more about him. I’m not saying the man is an angel. Still, I admire him for some of his accomplishments and good deeds.

    I didn’t say I approved of Sherman’s post game rant. That said, I think what he did was blown way out of proportion by some people. I happen to believe that some who found what he did so offensive did so because he is black. There is still plenty of racism in this country. Oftentimes these days, it’s expressed in more subtle ways. I believe some people would prefer not to address the problem. Sweep it under the carpet. If you can’t see it—it doesn’t exist.

  10. Rich, poor, or in between…. the right thing to do is to confront racism, sexism and gender bias when one sees it.

  11. Elaine,

    Promise it was not directed to you… Although some have a silver spoon and live in upscale housing…. They must really hate the fact that they might be rich and white by most peoples standards…. But have to continually defeclect that it’s a sorta of disease….

  12. Elaine, ” Maybe I should just sit back, be a good little girl, and keep my mouth shut.” Yea, right, like you could do that.

    I think the reference was to me when I called nick out for name calling.

  13. Elaine,I guess we are not suppose to respond to anything that smacks of “white privilege” or racism.

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