Sports

Leitch: It’s ‘Disingenuous’ to Attribute NFL’s Success to Sportsmanship

by Chris Lingebach
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Richard Sherman of the Seahawks celebrates after he tips the ball leading to an intereption by outside linebacker Malcolm Smith. (Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Richard Sherman of the Seahawks celebrates after he tips the ball leading to an intereption by outside linebacker Malcolm Smith. (Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Will Leitch recently penned a defense for Richard Sherman, the polarizing Seahawks corner, imploring readers to look beyond the 30-second snapshot taken of him mere seconds after he’d made the play of his life to send his team to the Super Bowl, and get to know him for his body of work.

“I think it’s a very natural thing to think that what we see on television in our first impressions tell us a lot about a person, but I think there’s definitely a lot more to Sherman than people realize,” Leitch told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.

To emphasize his point, Leitch set up a hypothetical to try to explain why Sherman — who was clearly overcome with adrenaline when Erin Andrews approached him with a microphone and camera, for what would become his iconic post-game interview — deserves at least some benefit of the doubt.

“After probably just the biggest moment of my career, I just got my team into the Super Bowl and someone sticks a camera in my face,” Leitch said. “I’m still in game mode, in a lot of ways. So I thought it was important to show that in the heat of the moment, is not necessarily who people are inherently.”

Not to totally turn the attention onto the racially charged attention Sherman drew for his heated interview, but one has to give credit to many outlets, outside of Sports On Earth, for sharing that other, lesser-known side of Sherman in effort to give the complete story.

The side of Sherman that graduated with a 4.2 Grade Point Average from Dominguez High in Compton, Calif. (his hometown, where he told Fox Sports 1, it wasn’t uncommon to see a dead body from time to time); the side which drove him to graduate from Stanford, then subsequently enter a Masters program; the side which allowed him to persevere through a position change three-years into his college career, and still manage to get drafted (by Seattle in the 5th round in 2011) as a corner, and eventually work toward becoming the best player, statistically, at his position.

Theses are all Sherman traits which would likely get overlooked if say, one were to form a firm opinion of him based solely on one thirty-second interview he gave.

It’s important to learn both sides of an athlete. Don’t agree?

Consider this, especially if you’re a Redskins fan reading this.

Remember, it wasn’t  all that long ago members in the mainstream media falsely identified Sean Taylor as a “thug,” learning he was actually a loving father who’d been trying to protect his family and establish a life on the straight and narrow, only after he was taken from this earth.

“You question how much of a choice you have when you literally have just come off the field, and he just made that play, and certainly, after he had five or ten minutes to cool off, he was himself again,” Leitch pointed out. “And in a lot of ways, I think it speaks maybe more to the way that we do these post-game interviews. That’s no criticism of necessarily Fox or Erin Andrews, that’s the way we all do this now. And usually we’re sticking the camera in the face of a quarterback who threw a touchdown ten minutes ago, who’s very used to being the field general.”

“I think it’s disingenuous to say that the NFL is successful because of sportsmanship,” Leitch further noted. “The NFL is successful because of showmanship. And I think that there’s a reason we won’t be talking about good sports for the next two weeks, we’ll talk about people who entertain us.”

The point being hammered home here is, at least do a little research on a guy before you decide to hate him for the rest of your life, and, at least consider the possibility you may have formed a slightly skewed opinion of Sherman, based on one, thirty-second interview.

Richard Sherman of the Seahawks tips the ball up in the air as outside linebacker Malcolm Smith catches it to clinch the victory against the 49ers. (Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Richard Sherman of the Seahawks tips the ball up in the air as outside linebacker Malcolm Smith catches it to clinch the victory against the 49ers. (Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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