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. Chris Rock speaks truth about white and black, Asian, Puerto Rican, etc. There are many bits that would tell many folks here just how wrong they are. Here’s just one. “If you live in the ghetto and want to hide your money from a young black/male burglar, hide it in a book, a nigger ain’t NEEEEEVER goin’ to open a book.” Chris Rock speaks truth to all people. That’s just one example that doesn’t comport w/ the world view of hand wringers. The classic “How not to get your ass kicked by the police” is another. There some even tougher ones. He had Jessie Jackson on his HBO show and had the Reverend “sweatin’ like a whore in church.”

    Now, hand wringers would love the difference between black folk becoming rich and white folk being wealthy. It’s a classic Rock bit. That is uncomfortable for white folk. Toure is a buffoon and intellectually dishonest. He’s an MSNBCer for chrissake. If you want to be a serious journalist you have to possess both a first and last name, otherwise you’re Cher, Madonna, etc.

  2. The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened to Me
    Prominent African Americans recall painful and life-altering brushes with discrimination
    SEP 14 2011

    There’s a Chris Rock joke that is emblematic of modern racism. It’s from his 2008 standup routine “Kill the Messenger,” and it’s about Alpine, New Jersey, the posh town where he lives in a multi-million dollar home. His neighbors include Mary J. Blige, Patrick Ewing, and Eddie Murphy. Rock says Blige, Ewing, Murphy, and he are (or were) among the best in the world at their professions, legends in their line of work. They’re also the only four black homeowners in town.

    Then he says his next-door neighbor is a white dentist. “He ain’t the best dentist in the world,” Rock says. “He ain’t going to the dental hall of fame. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist.” Rock spells out the point with a devastating punchline: “The black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to.”

    He’s saying that in modern America blacks can ascend to the upper class, it’s possible, but they have to fight so much more to get there because white supremacy remains a tall barrier to entry. The fact that a few slip through the infinitesimal cracks is a way of advancing the idea that white supremacy does not exist, an attempt to mask its awesome power, because the Matrix doesn’t want you to know it’s there. How can someone argue that Alpine, New Jersey, is racist when four black families live there, welcomed by the community and unharassed by police?

  3. I always like to look @ the positive. There have been no overt racist comments here on either thread involving Richard Sherman. And, since I don’t have the inclination to think the worst, I can’t find any comments that infer a racist agenda. I KNOW there are some folks here who are incredulous w/ that statement. C’est la vie. I have never called anyone here, in my 2 or so years, a racist, homophobe, sociopath, sexist. It is heartening to have seen so little of that on the 2 Sherman threads. “Always look on the bright side of life.” A great Monty P:ython song..

  4. @SJE

    I think you’ve done a good job of highlighting some of the important issues of PC/tone-policing and the dangers of allowing, either actively or passively, voices in society to hijack otherwise non-racially-charged words. I don’t think I disagree with any of your main points, but my focus is from a slightly different angle.

    I’m not trying to make statements that I would want to be read as: “This word is being used by racists, implicitly and/or explicitly, so I’m not going to use it and you all should do the same.” Ideally, words get used as they are defined; people say what they mean and mean what they say.

    For many of us that have been thinking and talking about the USA’s lexicon and race issues in the 21st century, especially through the lens of language reverberated around the globe via ‘big media,’ “thug” seems to have become a point of interest.

    As you may have picked up from my other comments, I’m curious about social psychology and if knowledge about collective subconscious can be gained by studying reaction. I think of it like work at the Large Hadron Collider. They can’t study the most rudimentary particles directly, so next best thing is to study the state and change of the by-products of the stuff under investigation.

    Subconscious behavior is difficult to study and understand, especially in large groups, but human reaction to stimulus often reveals statistical patterns. The national “thug” conversation is 2 particle beams that found each other in head on collision and the detectors are all turned to the ‘on’ position…sorta. We all have biases and studying reaction has shown fruitful in cutting through some biases when attempting to study behavior that we aren’t even aware of in ourselves.

    I know this is a wordy response, but I’m working toward saying that I don’t think that we could ever say this person or that person is a racist because they called a black man a thug. OTOH, if there is a pattern by non-blacks who tend to only use the word ‘thug’ to describe black men and that use of language is coupled with other behavior that reveals bias or results in discrimination then we would need to acknowledge and study the correlation more thoroughly, right?

    Some of us have been seeing this anecdotal correlation on the rise for a little while and studies utilizing ‘closed caption’ tv are showing signs of statistical relevance.

    I don’t think that a word can be racist and I do know from first-hand experience that a racist can be a racist without ever uttering a single derogatory word.

  5. SJE

    Elaine: I agree that Sherman is not a thug, merely rude. Those people criticizing him sound racist. None of this means that the term “thug” is necessarily racist.


    I agree that “thug” isn’t necessarily a racist term.

  6. SJE, I would suggest you read Mr. Turley’s comments on the prior Richard Sherman post vis a vis shooting that racist tag indiscriminately. Mr. Turley has called Sherman a thug. Just by using that term does not mean race or certainly that you are a racist. I have given NUMEROUS examples of white thugs who have been called such. Thug does connote male for the most part but there are thugs of all races. But, Justin Bieber is not a thug. I did LMAO on that one. At first I thought it was a joke but then realized that was not the intent.

  7. This country elected a black man w/ brains, twice. I don’t know that he scares many folk, but anyone w/ a minimal amount of intelligence doesn’t trust him anymore. So, maybe we should all be scared of that black man w/ brains @ 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And, myopic isn’t a bad word, it is something we all suffer @ times, literally and figuratively. I call the Flop rule on that rant. Or as my old man would say when we tried to play victim, “Have you switched churches to Our Lady of The Perpetually Offended?” He didn’t miss a trick.

  8. Elaine: I agree that Sherman is not a thug, merely rude. Those people criticizing him sound racist. None of this means that the term “thug” is necessarily racist.

    Similarly, lots of people call Obama a “socialist” out of racial animus because they think his policies reward people who are “undeserving,” which conveniently seems to mean anyone not white. Likewise “Kenyan” is part of the entire idea that Obama is somehow constitutionally unable to be present, an idea that is entirely racial because, even if he were born in Kenya, his American mother would qualify him for the presidency. None of this means that “Kenyan” is necessarily racist if, e.g. describing Obama’s dad, or “socialist” if describing his mother’s political views.

  9. Richard Sherman is a bad trash-talker, not a thug
    By Christopher L. Gasper
    Globe Staff
    January 26, 2014

    But the tone of the backlash to Sherman’s rant is a far more serious and embarrassing societal ill than the rant itself. It has an undercurrent of veiled and not so veiled racism.

    An outspoken African-American with dreadlocks who was screaming into America’s living room about how good he is generated vile, hateful responses.

    The website Deadspin chronicled people on Twitter calling Sherman an “ignorant ape” and a “cocky [racial slur].”

    Another tweeter said Sherman needed to be introduced to George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed black teenager Trayvon Martin in a polarizing case that a Florida jury ultimately determined was self-defense.

  10. An example, to “bully” might be inappropriately using your power over anotherr, but a “thug” captures the essence of a person. Chris Christie was always known to be a bit of a bully, and that seemed to be some of his charm to his supporters. But his recent behavior suggest he is not merely a bully. Can we call him a thug, or is that now so loaded with racial connotations that the meaning is lost?

  11. “what scares some people most isn’t black men with guns–it’s black men with brains”

    That ‘some’ people is probably a very small percentage of crazy neo-Nazi, KKK-types.

    Sherman did not display brains during his post-game rant. While he is intelligent overall, he sure took leave of his senses and instead displayed aggressive arrogance.

    Dr. Ben Carson is a black man with brains.
    Jonathan Martin is a black man with brains, and a football player.
    I could not imagine either of them ever behaving as Sherman did.

    Thug describes a person who is rude, aggressive, threatening, and seems to enjoy bullying, intimidating, or instigating others.

    That term describes people like Richie Incognito. Thug is not a racist term. Don’t let a perfectly good term to describe terrible behavior get twisted into something it isn’t. Unless Sherman behaves like Incognito as a general rule, then he is not a thug. If someone had called him a great orator, that wouldn’t apply either.

    Also, as recently as 3-4 years ago, people were describing George Bush, Dick Cheney, and others as thugs. E.g., “President George W. Bush is “the biggest thug” ever to occupy the White House, writes historian Michael Parenti, adding that most post-World War II U.S. presidents have also acted like “thugs.”

    His “thug” list includes Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Conspicuously absent from his list are Republican Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Jimmy Carter.

    What the thugs have in common, Parenti says, is their dedication “to a U.S. global interventionist policy” and support for “gargantuan, bloated, criminally wasteful military budgets” to execute those interventions.” http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_sherwood_080327_bush_is__22biggest_thu.htm

    Is his use of the word ‘thug’ accurate or inaccurate?

    For those African-Americans who supported these policies, have they earned the title ‘thug’?

    Has President Obama earned it because of the kill lists and drone strikes in numerous countries?

  12. This is an interesting example of statements I’ve heard from some folks in my life.

    SJE:”If people object to accurate use of the term, they need to get a life.”

    This is a common misdirection and accommodation in the face of cognitive dissonance. The same type of pseudo-argument can be made for the term ‘f@gg0t’.

    “I wasn’t using a derogatory word. I was calling them a bundle of sticks.” Yeah, right. Unless we are to believe that “robbing and killing travelers on the highway: rapacious violence under the color of religion” is the same as being excited after winning a game?

    The behavior that can only be described as a “me thinks the [racial stereotypers] doth protest too much” reaction is the most telling part of this whole affair.

    The more non-black men and women attempt to rationalize their behavior, the more plain the guilt and desire to not have to acknowledge that guilt is put on display. That shadowy sub-conscious is a heck of a thing when the veils that hide it become thin.

    It’s part of white culture and history: Do harm (or fail to take a stand in the face of wrongs being committed) and then find ways to not acknowledge responsibility. Not exclusive to whites, but we are surely the best at it, historically.

  13. OS,

    I agree and one of the smartess women you’ll find was my mother that worked with the Houston medical center setting up heart transplant units….

    Elaine, Annie….

    Pictures of huckabee would be all the form of genuine birth control ….

  14. annie,

    I’d say that passing out pictures of Huckabee and men like him to libidinous women would probably be the most effective form of birth control.

  15. Libidinous women would probably take a pass. I had to look up the adjective for libido and then use it in a sentence.

  16. annie,

    They don’t scare him so much. He’s just frustrated that he can’t make a blip on women’s libidos.

  17. “what scares some people most isn’t black men with guns–it’s black men with brains”


    Truth be told, women with brains are even scarier to some men. :mrgreen:

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