BY Art Thiel 07:16PM 12/20/2016

Thiel: Seahawks’ Sherman, defiant as ever

Seahawks CB Richard Sherman offered no apology for his sideline rant Thursday, although if he knew the facts about the Seahawks history from the one-yard line, he might not try so hard to win the argument.

Richard Sherman doesn’t feel compelled to back down from his sideline rant. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

No regrets, no remorse, no apology.

CB Richard Sherman remained true Tuesday to his sideline tirade during the Rams game, when he yelled and pointed fingers at coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a play that reminded 8,231Sherman of the one that cost the Seahawks the Super Bowl.

Back in the day, we called that an acid flashback. In the context of Seahawks football, it was over-reaction Thursday followed by under-reaction Tuesday.

“People need something to talk about this week,” Sherman said. “Y’all talk about that. The way our team works, it worked out fine.”

Maybe so. The Seahawks have navigated worse — Percy Harvin punching out teammates and disobeying orders, Marshawn Lynch abruptly pulling out of the playoff trip to Minnesota. But those guys are gone, and Sherman figures to be around a good long while.

Sherman passed on the chance for contrition in favor of pride, justifying his stubbornness by hiding behind coach Pete Carroll’s mantra for avoiding potentially damaging misbehavior: Protect the team.

Wasn’t your public rant potentially punishable? Said Sherman: “No. Because what’s our rule? Protect the team. That’s our rule. It goes both ways. That’s what me and Pete talked about.”

That was a reference to Carroll’s day-after one-on-one with Sherman in which Carroll indicated he needed to hear the right words from Sherman to avoid sanction.

What those words were weren’t clear, but according to Sherman, none was “sorry.”

At his weekly presser, Sherman handled nearly a dozen questions about the incident politely, if tersely. Near the end, ESPN’s 710 Jim Moore asked a pointed but fair question: Did Sherman think he had “a better handle” on offensive play-calling than Bevell.

“No, I just had a prior experience (the Super Bowl loss) so we talked about it,’’ Sherman said. “But let me guess — you have a better play to call. Let me guess — you have a better experience.’’

Moore said no, and Sherman said, “Then you should probably kind of stop.’’

As Sherman walked off the stage and passed by a seated Moore, he said, “You don’t want to go there. You do not. I’ll ruin your career.”

Moore: “You’ll ruin my career? How are you going to do that?”

Sherman: “I’ll make sure you don’t get your media pass anymore.”

Said Moore: “Is that right?”

Sherman, continuing to walk: “Yes, it is.”

As media dust-ups go, this was a minor episode. I’ve been around much better, including one with Moore years ago during the Sonics playoffs with Gary Payton that ended up chin to chin. But that story is for another column.

The episode did demonstrate how self-righteous Sherman can be. He later tweeted out an apology that seemed as if it came straight from the Seahawks PR staff:

However insincere the tweet was, Sherman would have better spent his social media time getting back in gear with the team. Teammates will always defend his play and persona, but they also know he gets full of himself. Or as Bevell put it Tuesday, smiling:

“I’m not going to convince Richard of anything. I’m just comfortable, really, of how the conversation went. I thought it was a good conversation.”

Funny thing is, Sherman’s complaint isn’t grounded in any particular reality.

Since the infamous pick by New England’s Malcolm Butler that sent the play into the pantheon of catastrophic sports outcomes, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has attempted three passes from the opponents’ one-yard line. Two went for touchdowns, including one to WR Doug Baldwin Thursday, two plays after an incompletion/near-interception to TE Jimmy Graham that prompted Sherman’s knee-jerk response.

The third was a TD pass to Graham against Carolina Dec. 4. Neither TD pass drew Sherman’s ire.

He was asked, in light of events, whether he would have the same reaction if another pass was attempted from the one, he said, “I don’t know. I’d have to see it. If I did . . . I’m not one to hold.”

That answer suggests that Sherman is more into winning the argument than winning the game. He needs know that since that Super Bowl, the Seahawks have run 15 plays from foes’ one-yard line. They scored on eight, including six rushes, besides the pair of passes. So it appears that the Seahawks’ offense is functioning fairly well without Sherman’s input.

For his part, Bevell naturally said he took no insult from Sherman — not surprising, since he’s been flipped off from the field by Lynch and Baldwin, and castigated on Twitter by Lynch’s mother, Delisa, as well as many thousands of fans who claim to know the Seahawks offense better than he does.

“I think the thing that we do really well here, that (Carroll) always talks about, is we celebrate our players and the uniqueness that they have,” Bevell said. “But I think that there are repercussions when they step over the line.

“That’s not for me to handle. That’s for coach to handle. I’m comfortable with all our guys. I love the fiery nature.”

Sherman fell back on a staple of his view of the world outside the Seahawks: That people who haven’t played or coached can’t know what they are talking about.

“Our team is a lot different than other teams,” he said. “The public just needs an opinion, a criticism. They don’t understand. That’s why most people can’t even get to this point of success.

“Most people live their lives with a foot on the brake, hoping not to run into people. (Players) live our lives with the foot on the gas, trying to search for success. We push the limits, we push the envelope. We are competitors. We know what it takes to get to the mountaintop. Most people don’t understand that. It’s hard to comprehend what’s going on. It’s not hard for my teammates, because we see eye-to-eye on it.”

Actually, Sherman is mistaken. Just because people haven’t been president, or a cop or a fireman, doesn’t necessarily invalidate their opinions on quality of jobs being done. You don’t have to be Martin Scorsese to know whether a movie was good or bad, or to ask good questions about it.

Even Sherman is unlikely to have been aware of the Seahawks’ ratio of play calls on the one, although he does share the same Super Bowl nightmare with the entire Seahawks fan base.

But one would think, given all his knowledge of and experience in the game, he would know better than to act like the fan he disparages.



  • wabubba67

    I’ve always backed Sherman, but it’s tremendously difficult to defend his interaction with Moore. It was a fair question given Sherman’s behavior on Thursday.

    • cocktaildave

      I appreciate his play on the field and I’m glad he patrols the Seahawk secondary but he really is an arrogant pile. If he balled for any other team but the Hawks he would be one of my most reviled players. I cringe at most every presser he gives. What a shame.

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      • art thiel

        The arrogance has to go.

    • art thiel

      Sherman still hasn’t figured out boundaries beyond the field. Then again, so it can be said of some presidents-elect.

      • rosetta_stoned

        It’s going to be a long four years for you, isn’t it.

      • John M

        It’s OK to hate that guy, Art. I do . . .

  • Seattle_Chris

    The tweeted faux apology is meaningless; he owes a direct apology to Moore. Talent fades, Richard, integrity is forever. Show some.

    • art thiel

      Sherman is, as are, I would hope, the rest of us, learning.

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  • PokeyPuffy

    Not impressed with player or coach in this chapter of Seahawks public relations history. This has to be the least savory part of Carroll’s job, i.e. being Sherman’s apologist.

    • art thiel

      Carroll is experienced in tricky navigation, but it does seem indulgent.

  • 1coolguy

    “Actually, Sherman is mistaken. Just because people haven’t been president, or a cop or a fireman, doesn’t necessarily invalidate their opinions on quality of jobs being done. You don’t have to be Martin Scorsese to know whether a movie was good or bad, or to ask good questions about it.”
    Well said, Art.
    I will admit, when RW passed to Graham on the first down play Sherm expounded on, I thought two things: 1/ On that route, the pass was too low – it should have been high so only 6’7″ Graham could catch it. So it was a lousy pass by RW, just like his SB pass. 2/ Again, given Graham’s size, why not have him take two steps into the end zone, turn around and catch a pass that is over everyone’s stretched arms except for Graham’s? Am I missing something here?

    • art thiel

      Apparently Baldwin was the hot read, and was covered. Wilson threw in haste.

  • Bruce McDermott

    Sherm’s immaturity shows in his lack of humility. Unfortunately, he is beginning to buy his own bullshit, like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment–he is an Ubermensch, of a different species from the lowly masses, and therefore to be held to a different, more forgiving standard of behavior. Granted, he hasn’t killed anyone, but the message he delivers is unmistakable–he is special, we are not, and not just in football, but in life (as he once observed, correctly in that case, of Skip Bayless). The stuff off-mike with Moore was beyond the pale, and shows the same kind of solipsism. The dude has a ways to go.

    The “goes both ways” comment was interesting, though. The follow-up from the press wasn’t particularly good, but the clear implication was that calling pass plays from the 1 yard line, especially given the Super Bowl experience, was not “protecting the team.” I wonder whether Pete has ever thought of that phrase as applying to him and his coaches, as opposed to just his players. I was at the game, and it was painfully clear that the Hawks’ O-Line was being manhandled on the ground almost at will by the Rams, and that a pass was called not for the more esoteric, time-related reasons that motivated the Super Bowl pass, but simply because the line could not be counted on to make way for an inch, let alone a yard. I could see how that frustrated Sherman, because it frustrated me and the fans around me. “Enforcing our will” with a run game is clearly a relic of the past, Whether Pete wants to admit it openly or not, the playcalling does it for him. So I get the frustration. But the time and the manner of expression was all wrong, and no matter what Sherman says, did not “protect the team.”

    • art thiel

      Good observations, Bruce. I didn’t understand how Sherman saw “both ways” in protecting the team. The same plays that failed can work the next time, and vice versa. That is no threat to the team; it’s just football. We should have made Sherman explain it.

  • Talkjoc

    Hey Richard Sherman, instead of the rant over the 1-yard pass and complaining about the offense, please explain to Hawks fans how your lock-down defense gave up 14 points in the 4th quarter in the SB loss. Starting to wear pretty thin.

    • art thiel

      To be fair, that’s when the previous injuries to Chancellor, Thomas and Sherman showed up in their play.

      • Talkjoc

        Fair point. But, when has fairness EVER been a consideration in any Sherman rant or the discussion there after?

  • osoviejo

    Did Wilson complain about the defense unable to hold a lead for 31 seconds with a trip to the NFCCG on the line? One example of more-than-you-think blown late leads the past five years.

    Complaining about the other side of the ball is valid in one case, and one only: if there is an obvious lack of effort. Otherwise, it’s okay to have an unexpressed thought.

    • art thiel

      Thanks for the reminder for us all: Not all thoughts are worthy of sharing.

    • John M

      Nice, thanks for a concise smack in the head . . .

  • Steed

    If he screamed at the coaches behind closed doors at the VMAC, that would be fine. But now he and all his team mates will be answering questions about his behavior when they should be concentrating on getting a first round bye.

    Richard has an anger management problem, it seems.

    • art thiel

      That why Carroll views “protecting the team” involves making no distraction that compromise attention to the game.

  • Thought Think

    “Actually, Sherman is mistaken. Just because people haven’t been president, or a cop or a fireman, doesn’t necessarily invalidate their opinions on quality of jobs being done. You don’t have to be Martin Scorsese to know whether a movie was good or bad, or to ask good questions about it.”

    I completely agree that all opinions CAN be valuable. However, having experience, insight, and the correct information does make a difference. I don’t think that’s the case Sherman is making, but I do think there are some bad opinions that come from arm-chair sports writers, coaches, restaurant owners – you name it. (There are also some good ones, too!)

    • art thiel

      Sherman misses the point that opinions are the lifeblood of spectator sports, and part of why he gets paid $12M. He can simply remain silent on what he perceives to be the foolishness of fans/media, and flourish. But silence takes discipline and maturity.

      • John M

        If you’re longing for another Harbaugh to stoke juices, I guess Sherm’s as good for that as we got at present . . .

        • art thiel

          I’m not sure that’s the point, or a good analogy.

  • tor5

    As a diehard twelve, and one who used to wear the #25 proudly, this is so disappointing. Sherm can lecture me all he wants about how, as a fan, I don’t really understand the game. But how ironic that he defends his childish behavior as somehow the right of a professional to challenge the coaches. Since when did sideline tantrums become the mark of a “professional”?

    Hey Sherm: Quit trying to excuse this as somehow to “protect the team.” You’re being a selfish brat. Now all your coaches and teammates have to spend all their media time the next several days responding to questions about your rant. Face the truth: You are hurting the team. A confident man would apologize and move on. Grow up.

    • art thiel

      Sherman is a bright guy but hasn’t developed humility because, I think, he sees it as losing his edge. Someone needs to show him how that isn’t true.

      • MrPrimeMinister

        That would be JEEP Corp. He would listen to them.

      • tor5

        When Christine Michael came back to the Seahawks after almost losing his career, Richard Sherman said it was good for him to get humbled. Perhaps we remind Sherm of this.

        • art thiel

          Excellent point.

  • Sean Riley

    This piece made me love Jim Moore even more. Can’t wait for the column on Moore and Payton.

    • art thiel

      Jim’s a friend, so I’ll probably let him choose to tell the story.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    Football players use intimidation. It is their livelihood. He unfortunately confused what he does on the field with appropriate behavior off of it. Simple mistake. Somebody’s press pass? Oh the ghastly horror!!!
    Fact of the matter is, a one yard throw in the second quarter of some nameless game in October is completely not comparable to 20 seconds remaining in the Superbowl going for the title against tom brady and the pats.

    • art thiel

      The plays are comparable because Carroll preaches treating every game with the same intensity. Of course he understands that human nature intervenes, but he aspires to a steady emotional approach because anything else is disastrous.

  • I’m a huge Sherman fan and love the passion he brings to the game. But the sideline outbursts have to stop. His “protect the team” line is nonsense. I’d give 10 to 1 odds that part of the conversation Carroll and Sherm had in private covered this territory.
    As for the foolish public threat he made to Jim Moore, Sherman deserves a stiff fine. That’s just totally unprofessional.
    “Fierce” is great on the field when directed at your opponents and within the rules. It’s childish and counter-productive when directed at your coaches or teammates on the sideline and it’s completely unacceptable in the context of a press conference.
    Of course, as Art notes we now have a president-elect who demonstrates similar tendencies…

    • art thiel

      Carroll walks a tightrope between damaging Sherman’s edge and protecting Bevell’s playcalling integrity. Carroll knows all of life is mostly gray, rarely black and white.

  • Jon

    Richard is making it hard on us apologists. I can’t quite defend this one.

    • art thiel

      I’ve heard and read many similar responses.

  • Gerald Turner

    Star player wants more attention, don’t quite know how this is news. Side note Bevs screen pass mania has worked out quite well this year, thinking of the Carolina game.

    • art thiel

      Way too simple, Gerald. This isn’t about attention for its own sake. He overstepped, and is unwilling to step back, for reasons of ego. Not helpful.

  • Joe_Fan

    Me thinks there is a deeper story here in terms of what is causing these angry outbursts this season. Sherman is a very smart guy by all accounts. I don’t see him disrupting the team and ranting and raving like a mad man without there being a deeper reason than has been given. Sure he has a big ego and is upset by the play calling, but to me there just has to be something else behind all this. It could be personal/family issues, medications, etc.

    • art thiel

      I understand the speculation. He’s inviting it by not admitting error. But I have heard nothing to indicate there is a deeper problem beyond, perhaps, the inability of the offense to carry its share.

  • coug73

    The Sherm needs to get with the PC program and stop being a Debbie Downer.

  • Kevin Lynch

    If Sherman gets to complain about play calling then every member of the team does. But really, it’s ironic that they just won a game against New England when the Patriots ran the ball from the one yard line into a stacked line on three straight occasions and got nothing. If Brady throws four times from the one are all four throws incomplete? I doubt it. There are more things to think of. Don’t let a spontaneous outburst and uncompromising ego define you. Sometimes it’s best to say nothing.

    • art thiel

      I think Sherman’s defiance in his presser didn’t sit well with the team/bosses. He’s causing distraction, because everyone gets asked about him.

  • d3s

    This is a somewhat delicate situation that requires a mutual agreement to move-on. Egos are clouding self reflection. Maybe Sherman has purged the Super Bowl ghost from our collective un-conscience and we can all move on.