If you have ever wondered why the NFL has a 10-minute “cool-down” rule in which reporters aren’t allowed to enter the locker room, comments after the NFC Championship game by Seahawk Cornerback Richard Sherman might be the answer. But how do you protect players from interviews on the field when the exuberance of having just won a spot in the Super Bowl is sinking in and the adrenaline is flowing?
In case you missed Sherman’s rant:
“When you try me with a sorry receiver like (the 49ers Michael) Crabtree, that’s the result you are going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”
Egotistical? Yes. Unkind? Absolutely. But does Sherman deserve the hateful bile that is being spewed at him? Sherman has been barraged with tweets and message boards filled with comments calling him a gorilla, an ape and a thug from the ghetto.
Of course, there is never an excuse for racial slurs. The hypocrisy is that his detractors are saying worse things about him than he said that night. The irony is that Sherman is not the stereotype they think. He was a straight “A” student in high school, he went to Stanford, and he writes an article for Sports Illustrated. He certainly isn’t a “gorilla, ape, or thug,” and in his calmer moments is known for his good nature and attitude.
We have all said things “in the heat of the moment” that we later regretted. We hope that people don’t judge us by those words, but in truth, those moments are sadly the ones we are probably remembered by the most.
Scripture repeatedly reminds us of the wisdom of watching our words. We know that “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23). The Christian knows that “no corrupting talk” should come from our mouths, “but only such as is good for building up…that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Sherman apologized for his rash remarks. And I hope he learned a lesson and that fans will offer him a little grace. For us, it is a great reminder of what Mom told us anyway… “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!” Turns out, that was pretty good advice.