Richard Sherman: No thug, but sly fox in marketing himself at opportune time

Super Bowl 48 / Head

Photo and video for Headline Surfer® / Richard Sherman, the All Pro defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC champs whop play Peyton Manning and the AFC champion Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
 
Joe Copenhaver, Wooster, OIhio sheriff's deputy and guest sports blogger / Headline Surfer®By JOE COPENHAVER
Guest Blogger
For Headline Surfer®
 

WOOSTER, Ohio -- To most football fans, the NFC Championship game will likely be remembered more for the post-game ranting of Seahawks DB Richard Sherman than the game itself, which saw Seattle outlast the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, to punch its ticket to today's Super Bowl match-up with the Denver Broncos.

To most casual fans, Sherman is nothing more than one of the very good defensive backs roaming the secondary for a very good defense known as the "Legion of Boom!" In fact, the casual fan may not have ever even heard of him.

But Sherman's anonymity disappeared quickly when a post-game interview on Fox Sports with Erin Andrews behind the mic thrust him into the national spotlight. Sherman went on a "rant" in which he proclaimed himself the best defensive back in the game; all the while attacking the skill level of opposing wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Andrews had barely turned it back over to the studio when the social media buzz was felt across the nation, if not the world, especially in the world of sports.

What was your initial reaction? Would you have done such a thing in front of an audience that spans the globe? Richard Sherman did. And I believe he did it with calculated effectiveness.

Richard Sherman/ DB Seattle Seahawks / Headline Surfer®Richard Sherman, shown here, from his Wikipedia page, is one of the more prominent players in today's Super Bowl game between his Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, led by NFL "Most Valuable Player" and quarterback Peyton Manning.

By now, if you're reading this blog, you know about Sherman and his history. Coming from Compton, Calif., and attending Stanford on a football scholarship, Sherman is obviously an intelligent young man as his resume demonstrates, but are we cutting him short on just how smart he really is?

If you can get past the dread locks and the loud, abrasive personality front and look deeper, there is obviously a young man intent on being heard on his own terms.

If you can get past the dread locks and the loud, abrasive personality front and look deeper, there is obviously a young man intent on being heard on his own terms.

Before the outburst with Andrews, Sherman was not exactly a household name. Although already a Pro Bowl-calibre player, Sherman has been overshadowed by the elite stars at his position in Darrelle Revis and Joe Haden, arguably, Nos. 1 and 2 at that position.

In today's NFL, being a great player just isn't enough anymore. It's all about marketing to break through and get that household recognition. If Sherman sees that being a polarizing figure is the way to go to achieve the name recognition, who are we to judge?

Take Peyton Manning. He's extremely marketable and is as well known beyond football.

How many people do you think are rooting for Manning this Sunday simply because they want him to beat up on the "thug," Richard Sherman, as he has been labeled by some fans? The answer is plenty, but the dots that people are failing to connect are that Manning and Sherman are walking parallel paths. It's their personalities that are the only difference.

How many people do you think are rooting for Manning this Sunday simply because they want him to beat up on the "thug," Richard Sherman, as he has been labeled by some fans? The answer is plenty, but the dots that people are failing to connect are that Manning and Sherman are walking parallel paths. It's their personalities that are the only difference.

I'll be the first to admit that Sherman's post-game conduct isn't something that I would condone or encourage if we were teammates.

His enthusiasm, however, is something that I would welcome and even demand. For people who have never played sports, in particular football, it may be hard to understand the emotions that take place during the heat of a game.

Players take on a psychological role that isn't necessarily who they are, but rather what they must become in order to perform. I can assure you that what was said during that interview is church talk compared to what goes on between the lines and in the locker room.

This is a "big boy" sport played by men -- many far greater in size and strength in the trenches than Sherman. It's violent and takes a mind set that most people could never understand or relate to.

Once that switch is thrown, it is not easily turned off. I believe that Sherman knew exactly what he was doing. And I believe his plan is working to perfection. He has gained the national attention he craved.

Sherman has landed numerous endorsements and has also gained the notoriety for his on-the-field play that he deserves. I have not heard one negative comment about him in the media, either from a teammate or any questioning of his work ethic. To me, those two points are huge.

Sherman has landed numerous endorsements and has also gained the notoriety for his on-the-field play that he deserves. I have not heard one negative comment about him in the media, either from a teammate or any questioning of his work ethic. To me, those two points are huge.

Now, go back and re-read my last several sentences and tell me how that differs from Peyton Manning.

The fact of the matter is the delivery by Sherman was unconventional, but from what we know of him, there aren't many traits that are conventional. And that's exactly how Sherman likes it.

About the guest blogger:

Joe Copenhaver of Wooster, Ohio, a sheriff's deputy and avid sports fan / Headline Surfer®Joe Copenhaver is a Sheriff's deputy from Wooster, Ohio. He is married with two boys, 8 and 6, and is an avid sports fan and outdoorsman. He attended Muskingum University in New Concord, a Division III school in the Ohio Athletic Conference, where he played free safety on the football team and third base on the baseball squad (still holds the record for 7 hits in 7 at-bats against College of Charleston in 1995). He left after his freshman year to join the police academy, now in his 17th year of law enforcement, the latter 14 with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.
Copenhaver and Headline Surfer® Publisher and journalist Henry Frederick met on Sirius Satellite's "Mad Dog Radio" as frequent callers a couple of years ago. On Jan. 1, they created a Facebook fan page, "Cope & Headliner Sports," which has 230 "likes."
Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.