Seahawks' Richard Sherman is as complicated as it gets

When the brash Seattle defensive back stood on the field Sunday after the Seahawks defeated San Francisco, looked at a TV camera and unleashed a wild-eyed rant against 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, it whipped the sports world into a frenzy.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 20, 2014
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photo - Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) gets shoved in the face by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) while trying to shake hands after an interception by Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (not pictured) during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) gets shoved in the face by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) while trying to shake hands after an interception by Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (not pictured) during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman is a thug.

Or an intellect.

He's a reason to cheer against Seattle.

Or a reason to cheer for it.

He's an example of what's wrong with sports.

Or an example of what makes it great.

When the brash Seahawk defensive back stood on the field Sunday evening after Seattle defeated San Francisco, looked at a TV camera and unleashed a wild-eyed rant against Niner receiver Michael Crabtree, it whipped the sports world into a frenzy. Heck, daytime talk show hosts who would've said before that Richard Sherman was the name of a middle school math teacher, not an NFL star were suddenly talking about him. Everyone suddenly had an opinion about Sherman.

And most of them were cut and dried. Sherman was either awesome or evil and nothing in between.

It's more complicated than that — most things involving our wacky human race usually are — and if Sherman is anything, it's complicated.

He's a guy who grew up in Compton, Calif., the son of a garbage man, and even though the pull of gangs and the scepter of violence were prevalent, Sherman became the salutatorian of his high school graduating class.

Grade-point average: 4.2.

He went to Stanford where he got his degree in communications — insert joke here — and took grad school classes before leaving campus.

But he also sent a profanity-laced email at one point to his dorm Listserv and hooked horns with teammates and coaches alike.

He's a complex individual.

About the only thing that's cut and dried about Sherman is his athletic ability. He went to Stanford as a receiver, and after spending almost his entire career at the position, he asked to be switched to cornerback. Now, he's the best cover corner on the planet.

Sherman got thrown at twice on Sunday.

Twice.

After the play he made at the end of the game, it's easy to see why the Niners stayed away from him. Sherman was the only thing standing between a Colin Kaepernick pass and Crabtree's hands, and leaping ridiculously high, Sherman reached one of his Inspector Gadget arms into the sky. He got his hand on the ball, batting it to a teammate and sealing the Seahawks' victory.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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