Thursday, January 23, 2014

Richard Sherman & Talking Trash (Talking Smack), Part II

Edited by Azizi Powell

The terms "talking trash" and "talking smack" appear in a number of articles about Seattle Seahawks [American] football player Richard Sherman's January 19, 2014 post game televised interview.
This post presents additional excerpts from selected articles & blog comments about Richard Sherman and his post game interview.

Click for Part I of this post.

Part I of this post provides definitions of "talking trash" and "talking smack". A definition for the vernacular term "going off on [someone]" is also given as that term is used to describe Richard Sherman's interview in the summary statement of the video which is also included in Part I and is found below. Part I also provides excerpts from two online articles about that interview.

Editorial Comment:
It's my position that Richard Sherman's self-boasting and opponent insulting (put down, dissing) comments during his January 19, 2014 post game interview are reflective of the African American tradition of talking trash (talking smack). As the article found below and other articles in Part II suggests, Sherman is known for his trash talking. Boxer Muhammad Ali is another African American professional athlete who was known for his self-boasting and opponent insulting talk. And some non-African American athletes are also known for trash talking.

This doesn't negate the fact that during that televised interview Sherman's tone of voice was probably louder than it usually is when he talks smack. Nor does it dismiss the fact that Sherman and Michael Crabtree, the African American wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers really don't like each other. Actually, I think that it would be more accurate to say that Richard Sherman "went off on" Michael Crabtree instead of saying that he "talked trash" or "talked smack". (Definitions and my comments about those terms are found below.) However, it seems to me that the cultural tradition of talking smack particularly as it relates to the self-boasting and insult exchange traditions which have their source in African American culture should be factored into any analysis of that now famous (or infamous) Richard Sherman's post game interview.

UPDATE: January 23, 2014
"The audio and video released by the NFL on Wednesday fits with Sherman's account of events from his column about the incident and ensuing criticism for "The Monday Morning Quarterback."

"I ran over to Crabtree to shake his hand but he ignored me," wrote Sherman in a piece published on Monday. "I patted him, stuck out my hand and said, 'Good game, good game.' That’s when he shoved my face, and that’s when I went off."

Moments after being shoved in the face by Crabtree, Sherman had a microphone put in his face by Erin Andrews of FOX Sports. At that point, he excoriated Crabtree and loudly proclaimed himself the best cornerback in the NFL."
Notice Richard Sherman's use of the phrase "went off", which is a form of the phrase "going off on [someone]".

The content of this post is presented for cultural and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for winning Super Bowl XLVIII
(Score: Seattle: 43 Denver Broncos 8).


mrhoopstafilms, Published on Jan 19, 2014

Richard Sherman Goes Off in Post Game Interview!!!! (2014 NFC Championship)

Richard Sherman Going Off on Michael Crabtree w/ Erin Andrews! richard sherman trash talk crabtree (2014 NFC Championship)
WARNING: Some comments on this video's viewer comment thread include profanity and racist language.

These excerpts are presented in no particular order and are numbered for reference purposes only.
It should be noted that when quoting what is generally called Richard Sherman's postgame "rant", none of these articles or commenters quoted include Sherman's ending exclamation "LOB!"(although the writer of the article given below as Excerpt #4 does allude to that exclamation with the comment that "He [Richard Sherman] even lauded his teammates").

When he ended his comments with the exclamation "LOB!" (Legion of Boom) Richard Sherman was giving a "shout out" (kudos) to the section of the Sea Hawks team that he belongs to. Information about the origin of that unofficial name for those players is given in Part I of this post.

Excerpt #1
From By Erik Ortiz, Staff Writer, NBC News
"Richard Sherman leads Seahawks to Super Bowl, brings the trash talk

All eyes will be on Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in this year’s Super Bowl, but all ears are pricking up to hear the Seattle Seahawks’ cocky cornerback, Richard Sherman.

The third-year defensive star has grabbed the spotlight for Feb. 2’s big game — and that has to do with his noisy talk as much as his outstanding play.

Sherman made a game-clinching move in the final seconds of Seattle's win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, then dove headfirst into a trash-talk tirade in front of a national TV audience moments later.

“I’m the best corner in the game!” an animated Sherman told Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like (the 49ers’ Michael) Crabtree, that’s the result you are going to get! Don’t you even talk about me!”

“Who was talking about you?” Andrews asked.

“Crabtree. Don’t open your mouth about the best or I’m going to shut it for you real quick,” Sherman piled on.

The rant was enough to make a pro wrestler blush and it sparked a wildfire on social media, much of it critical of the Seahawks star...

[Article includes other examples of Sherman “talking trash” to his football opponents.]

Kostya Kennedy, assistant managing editor of Sports Illustrated, said that while Sherman’s trash talk might turn off some, his latest antics after Sunday’s game did help raise his profile.
“Richard Sherman likes to crow, and if you’re not going to crow now when your team is going to the Super Bowl, then when?” Kennedy said...

[Keith] Donerson [Sherman’s high school football coach] called Sherman’s swagger superficial, saying it’s his way of puffing up his chest and intimidating opponents. Deep down, he said, Sherman “really cares about people. That’s the type of family he grew up in.”...

Sherman wrote Monday that his actions on the field should not be all by which he's measured.

"To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family."
Comment from that article's reader discussions section:
"you guys know that this spat between Sherman and Crabtree. In addition, there was a couple attempts at post game handshake, but Crabtree slapped away => THEN BOOM....

Oh, there was the trash talk at Charity event in AZ by Crabtree directed at Sherman.... not recorded by media... It is really one of those that we see the 2nd foul, but not the original instigation (non-called foul)."
Thturd, Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:19 AM EST

Excerpt #2
From "Economics Of Trash Talk" by Roger Groves
"Until a post-game interview of the NFL Championship Game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, only fantasy fans and NFL insiders knew Richard Sherman was a premier defensive back in the League. Most people don’t know he was making a mere $555,000. But millions of other pundits know of highly publicized Michael Crabtree, a receiver matched up against Sherman in the game...

two events occurred within 5 mintues that brought [Richard] Sherman an orchard of publicity and future money and crab apples for his nemesis. One: Sherman made an acrobatic play that turned a potential touchdown to [Michael] Crabtree into an interception. Two: After that play, Sherman said:

“I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna’ get. Don’t you ever talk about me…Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna’ shut it for you real quick.”...

Sherman was highly agitated yet concise. He didn’t thank God for the opportunity to play the game, thank his teammates and coaches for putting him in the position to win. He didn’t analyze the play from a technical standpoint. He told the 49ers and Crabtree if you throw the ball my way, I’m going to win, and especially if you choose to throw to a “sorry” receiver who makes over $2 million more than me who’s trash talked me before this game"...

Excerpt #3
From "How Richard Sherman honed his trash-talking skills" by Laken Latman / USA TODAY Sports 'For the Win'; Posted on January 22, 2014 at 7:35 AM
"By now everyone knows Richard Sherman. He’s the Seattle cornerback who set up the interception that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Following the play, Sherman mocked San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, and gave one of the most memorable post game interviews in history...

Back home in San Francisco, [Kellen Kiilsgaard, one of Sherman’s former teammates and roommates at Stanford] smiled. He wasn’t surprised at how his friend reacted. He’s seen this passion firsthand, be it on the football field, or in their college living room playing video games.
“He takes his Madden games*, his NBA 2K games* the same way he takes his NFL matchups,” Kiilsgaard said, laughing. “If you lose, you’re going to hear about it for a week. I’ve been called a sorry Madden competitor plenty of times by him.”

So to a very small extent, Kiilsgaard can empathize with Crabtree.

“Richard has a way with words,” he continued. “Sherman finds a way into your head and I think that’s never going to change about him. That’s part of the way he competes.”
"Madden" are football video games. "NBA2k" are basketball video games.

Excerpt #4:
From "America's Overreaction to Richard Sherman Is Case Study In Its Uneasiness With Black Males", By Kwik, Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:29 PM PST.

[Note: The words in brackets are my additions for informational purposes.]

"Richard Sherman's epic postgame rant didn't scare [White female television reporter] Erin Andrews, but it sure shocked the hell out of America...

I ask those of you who are so outraged about Sherman's antics this question: Did the sight and sounds of [White football player] Tom Brady literally chasing a referee off the field and cussing him out after a game on national TV make you equally upset? If not, then perhaps you should ask yourself why not?....

What I saw in that interview was an exhausted, excited, articulate football player getting the last word on his arch nemisis on the last play of the game. He didn't say anything disrespectful to Andrews. He didn't use profanity. He even lauded his teammates....

Anyway, even more alarming and damning are the number of racist tweets sent to and about Sherman. The common thread among those hateful communiques being that he's a black, ignorant, loud-mouthed thug. Black? Obviously. Loud-mouthed? Okay. Ignorant thug? Oh hell, no.

Richard Sherman graduated second in his high school class and went on to graduate from presitigious Stanford University. He also launched his own charitable nonprofit group called Blanket Coverage – The Richard Sherman Family Foundation. Its mission is to level the playing field for children enrolled in grades K-12 who have a strong combination of potential, goals and a desire to make the most of their education. Hardly the stuff thugs are made of...

The not so subliminal message America is sending to its black males: Unless you're entertaining us on a field, on a court, on a diamond or inside a ring we don't want to see or hear you being bold or aggressive. Be subservient. Be humble. Be meek. Otherwise, we'll see you as the uncouth threats we already believe you are...while we revere and see similar behavior from guys like Tom Brady as fiery and spirited...

I saw a little bit of Muhammad Ali in Sherman during that interview. And I loved it….
Other comments (numbered for referencing purposes only)
1. "...this young man has accomplished a lot, on and off the field. He's earned his bragging rights.
And as Ali would say, it't not bragging if you can back it up."
by gramofsam1 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:42:35 PM PST

2. "Do you think Muhammed Ali had grace and class?
Cause this is right out of Ali's playbook. You can probably find video of him yelling at reporters "Eat your words! I am the greatest!" (Which he was.)
He had some things to say about his opponents too.

I think it's kinda crazy for people to expect all of the adrenaline and aggression that goes into football or boxing to turn into sweetness and light two seconds later."
by gramofsam1 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:17:05 PM PST

3. "It looks to me like he was mostly repeating what Crabtree had said to him during the game.
Many (most?) players do a lot of trash talking during the game to their opponents."
by GeorgeBurnsWasRight on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:06:58 PM PST

4. "It's football... Not a chess match.
If a white dude went on a similar rant, people would react differently. They'd say he was amped up, the adrenaline was pumping, talking smack, whatever. But it's a black dude, and so people are clutching their pearls."
by MarthaPeregrine on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:09:45 PM PST

5. "Yeah, the hate towards Sherman was surprising.
Crabtree was talking trash to him the whole game. There's a picture showing Sherman at the end of the game trying to shake Crabtree's hand and say "good game" and crabtree shoved him in the face.

Who's the bad sport now?

Crabtree talked sh&t*, and Sherman proved to be the better player."...
-Failure in Shear on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 12:49:05 PM PST
This word is fully spelled out in this comment.

6. "You need to look at what he has done Against the best wide receivers in the league. Sherman walks his talk. The kid missed being valedictorian of his high school by half a percentage point and he graduated from Stanford with a gpa of 3.9 and he grew up admiring Ali. He goaded a bunch of his high school team members into going to college and texted and called them to make sure they were doing good in school. He grew up in Compton and was drafted late. He is now the best at what he does and he's only 25. This kid lives his life walking his talk."
by jbou on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:29:17 PM PST

7. "I think some people are taking this way too seriously. It's a show. Remember [Muhammad] Ali's trash talking [Sonny] Liston, or [Joe] Namath's "classless" boasts before Super Bowl III?"

I believe the hard feelings between the two players is fairly well known, but ultimately... it's a show, a show about a game..."
by chuckvw on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:15:02 PM PST

8. "... Football fans are such hypocrites, they cheer on a rough, violent sport but pass out the moment they're exposed to one of the players!

And it's clear to anyone with a brain that he's not attacking Erin, he's mocking his opponent. He's rubbing the dirt in...."
by dclawyer06 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:01:54 PM PST

9. "I'm not conflating anything..
I'm perfectly capable of weeding out racist reactions to Sherman from non-racist ones. You're the one struggling here.

Now, let's say someone non-racist were to watch the Andrews interview(and the heated reaction from the public, including the overtly racist comments excerpted above) and didn't like the things Sherman said. Bad sportsmanship, rude, whatever.

That non-racist person wouldn't come into a diary discussing those racist reactions and wave his hands around frantically that race isn't the issue. Stomp his feet angrily that it wasn't about race. Without acknowleging that some of it clearly was.

How about this instead: 'I didn't like Sherman's interview and I don't like trash talk because it's bad for the game(blah, blah, whatever) but some of that stuff on twitter is toxic and racist.'

That's a non-racist reaction.
Try it out sometime."
by dclawyer06 on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 03:09:51 PM PST

10. "...I remember people saying a lot of the same things when Ali, then Clay, talked some sh&t* on Sonny Liston. It was all part of the show, and it was a good show... Your sport may require you to beat the crap out of your opponent, but whatever you do don't be rude."
by chuckvw on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 01:09:47 PM PST
*This word is fully spelled out in that comment.

I believe that last sentence is snark (sarcasm).

The NFL has some truly bad guys playing in it.

I can think of more than a few.
According to a database compiled by U-T San Diego, 31 NFL players have been arrested since the Super Bowl in February 2013. During the 2012 off-season, according to an article on the If It Ain't Steel website, 31 players and a cheerleader were involved in criminal activity in nearly the same time period; with Time reporting that player infractions are rising 75 percent year after year in the NFL.

But Richard Sherman dared to be a black dude -- and the dreads make him extra scary! -- who ranted about a rivalry he has with another player on camera.

He didnt use profanity, didnt make threats. He was just kind an overblown ego that quickly cooled off.

He should be fired, fined and kicked out of the league, just like that probable rapist QB from Pitt.. Oh wait, that guy is white, isn't he?


by grover on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 02:09:41 PM PST
"eyeroll" is an indication of a gesture that may or may not actually be done. This gesture and word serves the same or very similar purpose as "smh" - "shake my head" [in disdain, or exasperation, disgust, and/or annoyance.]

That word indicates that the first part of that immediately preceding sentence should be understood to be what people say who the writer doesn't agree with.

"Two Muhammad Ali Raps (This Is The Legend Of Cassius Clay & Float Like A Butterfly) Two Muhammad Ali Raps (This Is The Legend Of Cassius Clay & Float Like A Butterfly)"

This is the end of Part II of this post.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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