Richard’s Rant Heard Roun’ The World

Richard Sherman sure was hyped following the NFC Championship Game last weekend. The post rant fallout hasn’t been nearly as fun however.

In the last couple of years the loquacious cornerback, Sherman, has gained a bit of a reputation for getting in to people’s faces and not being afraid to make a point. He did it to Tom Brady. He did it to offensive tackle Trent Williams and received a parting shot by way of a right hook. Neither of these two previous episodes received the attention of Sherman’s latest post game faux pas.

Here’s the video for those who might have missed it.

As you can see, Sherman is clearly excited and maybe just a tad vindictive towards 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The reporter, Erin Andrews, is clearly caught off guard.

I must admit when I first saw the interview as it was happening, my first thought was, “This guy sure is mad.” Then I thought about it more and remembered this man literally just made the game saving play against a guy who he feels slighted him in the past. Oh, and that play is one of the key reasons why the Seahawks are going to their second Super Bowl in the last 8 years.

In the days following the interview, the condemnation was swift.There were those who said Sherman was classless, a poor example of sportsmanship, and showed firsthand what not to do in a post-game interview. There were also those that used code words like ‘thug’ to describe Sherman’s antics. Some on social media even went as far as to refer to Sherman as a monkey.

Clearly, Sherman probably could have handled the post-game interview better, and he has since admitted as much. However, I think we have to remember that he was interviewed moments after he made the biggest play in the game, at home, and that he sealed his team’s trip to the Super Bowl in New Jersey (yes, New Jersey).

So to not expect him to be hyped and animated isn’t exactly fair. We want our athletes to be motivated, animated, and using whatever slights against them (real or imagined) to up their game even more to perform at the highest level. You can’t expect guys to be making tackles, taking hits, putting hats on people, and then get mad when they may not show the best decorum in a post-game interview. I have no problem with people who criticized Sherman’s rant for him going after Crabtree. But calling a man a thug (this so called thug also happens to be a Stanford grad) just based off nothing more than his appearance and an interview, reveals a lot more about some of Sherman’s critics than it does Sherman. Stay classy, folks.

A Little Girl, A Bowl of Cheerios, and A Whole Lot of Hate

It’s somewhat ironic that a 30 second Cheerios commercial could show just how far America has to go when it comes to race and media.

The Cheerios commercial that has ignited a racist backlash is rather simple in its premise. A young girl – who happens to be biracial – asks her mother if Cheerios are good for your heart. Her mother responds that they are indeed healthy for your heart. The commercial then cuts to her sleeping father on the couch who awakens to see an avalanche of Cheerios on his chest. Here’s how it all plays out:

As you can see, the mother is white and the father is black. More than a few people apparently couldn’t stand to see an interracial couple being featured in a commercial in 2013 America. What followed were some pretty nasty and hateful comments left on the commercial’s Youtube page. The vitriol was so bad that General Mills (the brand that makes Cheerios) disabled comments on the page.

Now what does this commercial say about race relations in 2013 America? That there is still much work to be done. Many people want to believe that race is not as big of an issue as it was say in the 50s and 60s, however I tend to believe that race isn’t as public a topic as it used to be.

What these hateful comments and this backlash shows is that unfortunately there are still many who harbor racist views of not just blacks, but a multitude of people within our society. This was true in the 60s as well. The key difference? Today, people (by and large) aren’t that stupid to express their racist attitudes in public. It’s a lot easier to spew hatred anomalously via the the black box that is the internet. And these racist comments aren’t limited to commercials either. This has been a problem in the gaming community for years and the issue was addressed at this year’s SXSW festival.

Ultimately, despite the racist attitudes of many, it’s worth noting that there were a number of people who supported the Cheerios commercial for its diversity. At a time when American families are integrating more than ever, this commercial is a reflection of the changing makeup of society, if not changing thoughts. Perhaps Camille Gibson, who is the vice president of marketing for Cheerios, said it best when she stated, “We felt like we were reflecting the American family.”