I enjoy watching football every once in a while, especially when my favorite team – the Giants – is not sucking. Even though they weren’t playing the Super Bowl this year, I watched a little bit of the game and saw when the Seahawks won. I missed the very short interview that Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman had with Erin Andrews (a Fox News sports reporter), though, which was also apparently very news-worthy. Although the clip was extremely short, a frenzy erupted from it. Andrews asked Sherman, moments after he blocked the 49ers from scoring a touchdown (which helped his team win), to replay the moment. (watch the video here) His response was loud, excited, and powerful, which is exactly what you’d expect from someone who just won the Super Bowl… right?
Wrong. Richard Sherman’s comments were described as classless and reeked of bad sportsmanship. Some people even called him a monkey. Once again, a connection was drawn between a black man and an animal (this relates back to the Eberhardt article we read). Other posts on social media sites claimed that Sherman’s behavior was completely the opposite of progressive. All of a sudden one man represents the entire black race, which is completely unfair and furthers ridiculous stereotypes about black people. Although it should be obvious that one person’s actions or behavior do not represent an entire group, it is not. It’s easier for people to make comments like this about black people because minority races are not viewed as normative. Sherman’s behavior was attributed to his blackness, not his present state of emotion. If a white man had done the same thing, I do not think the public would have reacted quite so disapprovingly.
The article I read about this mentions these injustices and how people put racial spins on Sherman’s actions. The second article I read discussed the fact that Sherman was yelling in front of Erin Andrews – a tall, blonde, white woman – which made his offense even worse in the eyes of critics. I believe his actions were intensified and made to seem worse because he appeared to be screaming in the presence of a white woman. Some people went so far as to say that Andrews seemed scared during the interview, even though she later said that she was not afraid whatsoever and wished more athletes would be in-the-moment like Sherman. I am glad Andrews reacted in this way because I think it may have quelled some people’s concerns and, hopefully, made them rethink their criticisms. I’m curious as to what other people think of Andrews’s comments about Sherman’s reaction: were they helpful or hurtful? Or would you describe them in another way?