WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman, who became a household name with an interview he gave to Erin Andrews, moments after defeating the 49ers on Sunday, delivered some perspective on being called a ‘thug’ and what it means on Wednesday.
Sherman, speaking to members of the media as the Super Bowl news cycle gets underway, was asked of all the backlash he received from his heated post-game interview with Andrews, if he took particular exception with being called a ‘thug.’
“The only reason it bothers me, is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays,” Sherman said.
“It’s like, everybody else said the N-word, and then they said ‘thug,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s fine,'” he said. “And that’s where it kind of takes me aback, and it’s kind of disappointing, because they know.
“What’s the definition of a thug, really? Can a guy on a football field just talking to people — maybe I’m talking loudly, and talking like I’m not supposed to — but there were hockey fights. There was a hockey game where they didn’t even play hockey, they just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m the thug? What’s going on here?’
“So I’m really disappointed in being called a thug.”
Sherman then pointed to his background, when prompted by a follow-up question, to explain from whence his passion for the game of football came, which sometimes carries into those interviews immediately following an emotional victory.
“It really gave me a great base to understand that, when you’re doing something, when you’re going out there and playing the game and doing that, that you didn’t come from anything,” he said.
“Where you came from, not a lot of people eat every night. People don’t eat every night. There’s crime out there. Kids who were born into impoverished situations didn’t choose those lives.
“They didn’t choose that, so you really take every moment and every play, and you understand that it has great magnitude, and it means a lot, and you really take nothing for granted. You take no play, no blade of grass, no nothing for granted, and you go out there and play with all your heart.”
Sherman graduated form Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif. with a 4.2 GPA, before moving on to play football at Stanford University, from which he also later graduated, and where he has since begun a Masters program.
The word ‘thug,’ as he explained, strikes him with particular disdain, and has been a difficult label for him to overcome, long before he ever entered the NFL.
“It does sometimes because I know some ‘thugs,'” Sherman said gesturing air quotes around the word thug. “And they know I’m the furthest thing from a thug.
“I’ve fought that for my whole life, just coming from where I’m coming from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that, you just think, ‘Thug, he’s a gangster, he’s this, that, and the other,’ and then you hear Stanford, and they’re like ‘Oh, man, that doesn’t even make sense. That’s an oxymoron.’
“You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”
You can watch the video of Sherman’s press conference over at Deadspin.