DISCLAIMER: This is the one and only time you will find a single reference tangentally related to Justin Beiber on this website.
Folks, I need your help. There are many things I find myself ignorant of, so I need you to help me see through my blind spots. It's been almost a week since Richard Sherman exploded in his 'interview' with Erin Andrews. Despite all dire warnings, there really doesn't seem to have been any storyline develope out of that. I was breathing a sigh of relief, and yet today the following image pops up in my Facilebook timeline:
Here is the point of my ignorance. With the exception of a few disappointed 49er fans on Twitter the day after the game, I haven't seen anyone seriously refering to Richard Sherman as a 'thug'. Since Monday, I haven't encountered a single article referencing his 'lack of class'. In fact, the football punditry seems to be universally praising his talent, intelligence and skill. Their reporting has focused on his ability to cover the 8 headed Hydra of the Bronco passing attack. The most disparaging 'dog whistle' I can currently find is the frequent reference to him being "outspoken". The sidebar of NFL.com sometimes still features the block of stories referencing the articles from Monday about Sherman's outburst and fued with Crabtree. But here's the thing; I'm not seeing anyone calling him a "THUG". The only things I can find are those Facebook updates and Tweets lamenting that Sherman is being called a thug, but I remain universally ignorant of who is calling him that.
This is where I need your help, folks. I'm ignorant of this blatent hue and cry about thuggery. So help me out and tell me who are making these wild accusations. Brenda at work around the coffee pot? Fred at the gym? Sylvia at the park? Rush Limbaugh? It ain't comin' from the Broncos. It isn't a story for the sports media. I'm really not seeing anything of the sort develope. I really would like to know. I just think that if we are to believe a tale about the hypocrisy of society which defends moral value of white Justin Bieber over black Richard Sherman, there should be some evidence, shouldn't there?
I would never argue that there isn't/won't be storylines surrounding the spec-a-ti-cal of the Super Bowl that aren't tinged with racial fears. I've seen it before, and we will likely all see it again. But I'm curious as to why it so important to create a story of racial tension where there really isn't one that has legs, from those who most decry racial tension. (Slightly to the side like, but not really, Jackie Robinson is in the Baseball Hall of Fame because he was a terrific ball player. But no one hides from the fact that he was also the first black major leaguer and should be celebrated for the boundaries he broke. Doug Williams was the first black quarterback to make it to the Super Bowl, win it, and he was FREAKING AWESOME in doing that. Yes, it was against my beloved Broncos and thanks for noticing. Shouldn't he be recognized for breaking that barrier with an HoF nod? Yet it was somehow significant when Lovee Smith and Tony Dungy were the first two black coaches to face off in the Super Bowl, and talking about that 24-7 was perfectly okay if not encouraged ...)
Racism is a real thing, still, and it surrounds and (excuse the expression) colors our view of sports. But a racist story line that I certainly wanted to avoid, and many along with me, is being painted as a 'real thing' by those who want so much for an end to racism. So, help me see what I'm missing. Are the stories of Sherman attempting to cover White Eric Decker going to be different than when he covers Black Demarius Thomas. White Wes Welker or Black Julius Thomas? When is Sherman going to be a 'THUG' and when isn't he? When I wrote before about the Richard Sherman brouhaha, my advice was "Please just let it go." I'm certain that all those thinking themselves as anti-racist were convinced that advice was meant for others. Uhhh, nope. It was meant for everybody. If you want to look for thugs in Football, look no further than White Bill Romanowski, Black Ndamukhan Suh, or any other color in the rainbow that has nothing to do with the actions of the player on the field. If you want to see race, you will. If you want to see competition and love the sport, you likely won't. The story line of the Southern Gentleman v. the Compton Thug just isn't developing, unless those who feel the desperate need to defend the skin color of Sherman make it happen. Stop doing that, please. Just let it go.