While trying to keep an open mind, I’ve been watching the arguments unfold the past couple of days in the wake of Richard Sherman’s bombastic remarks after the Seahawks defeated the 49ers in the NFC championship game.
Outrage was in abundance that night, with many football fans denouncing Sherman as an ungracious lout and vowing to root for the Broncos in the Super Bowl to spite him. (I’ve read, too, that there was a lamentable racist slant to many attacks on Sherman, although I observed none from those I follow on Twitter.)
A contrarian view came up in response to the denouncers, and that is that it was “refreshing” that a player would speak so openly in an era of the NFL devoid of controversial figures.
I approach it the way my father did when teaching me about sportsmanship, and I hope I conveyed the same message to my own children: Compete as hard as you can. Never taunt, never boast, never gloat. When the game is over, be gracious in victory or defeat. Shake your opponent’s hand and say “good game.”
That’s the code you follow to become a man (or woman).
I wouldn’t have to ask my father what he thought of Sherman’s outburst, and I’m sure my kids don’t have to ask me what I think.