Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Richard Sherman has only himself to blame

By Terence Moore
updated 3:26 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Terence Moore: Richard Sherman deserved criticism for his rant about Michael Crabtree
  • Don't make Sherman a civil rights hero; he set a bad example for young fans, he says
  • Moore argues that the notion sports heroes aren't role models is way off
  • Moore: Athletes can play constructive role to many kids raised without authority figures

Editor's note: Terence Moore is a sports columnist of more than three decades. He has worked for The Cincinnati Enquirer, The San Francisco Examiner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AOL Sports. Follow him on Twitter.

(CNN) -- Memo to all of the Richard Sherman apologists: Stifle. This talented yet insufferable defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks isn't the 21st-century version of Malcolm, Martin or Medgar.

So you should quit your hand-wringing, and between now and the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks, you should remember that Sherman put himself into this position of getting blasted in so many ways. Mostly, when it comes to either screaming or whispering racism these days, you should find a more worthy cause.

This isn't it.

Terence Moore
Terence Moore

You should turn your attention to Valdosta, Georgia, where authorities are claiming up is down, water isn't wet and a 17-year-old black athlete suffocated to death after he "accidentally" rolled himself up in a wrestling mat at his high school.

Terence Moore: Sherman knows better
Will Sherman's rant pay off?

How about those ugly numbers involved with income inequality? That affects people of color more than anybody. According to a study released this week from British humanitarian group Oxfam International, the world's richest 85 people have as much wealth as the poorest 3 billion. And, goodness knows, most stop-and-frisk victims are darker than Rush Limbaugh.

As for this Sherman thing, puhleeze. I mean, if you decide to look and sound like a crazy person on national television, you likely will receive a bunch of responses from yahoos that won't be kind.

Sherman: Rant was 'immature,' reaction 'mind-boggling'

Those yahoos will view you as the yahoo.

That's not to excuse the use of racial epithets against Sherman. And to his credit, he apologized (with a mighty push from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll) for his rant on Sunday after his Seahawks reached the Super Bowl in the final seconds when he tipped away a potential game-winning pass to his arch-nemesis, Michael Crabtree, a star wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers.

Sherman celebrated the moment by getting in a verbal spat with Crabtree, delivering the choke sign toward the 49ers bench and telling a Fox reporter on live television ... well, it wasn't good.

So here's the bottom line surrounding all things Sherman: Nobody with a clue needs to watch his apologists flash frowns of concern before saying why they believe he is misunderstood. They say he really is an intelligent guy working on his masters at his undergraduate school of Stanford. They say he is doing much of his trash talking before the nearest camera, microphone or reporter's notepad only for show. They say this is another example of why the rest of us just need to loosen up, because despite the way it appears (you know, that Sherman is absolutely out of control and needs a good spanking), he is being persecuted as a 25-year-old black male with dreadlocks trying to keep it real.

Yeah, well. Sherman's persona is dangerous, along with the shallow-thinking folks who support him and his ever-flapping tongue.

Here we are, 21 years after one of the most unfortunate commercials of all times, and many folks still haven't learned that Charles Barkley blew it. Back then, when he was a player for the Phoenix Suns instead of the analyst that he has become for NBA telecasts and other entities, Barkley looked into a camera for Nike to deliver six infamous words: "I am not a role model."

Well, there were lot of things wrong with that. For one, we all are role models -- regardless of intellect, occupation, age, creed, color, education, gender and social or economic status. Whether we like it or not, somebody always is studying us. And the more visibility we have in life, especially when it comes to the fields of athletics and entertainment, the more responsibility we have to present ourselves in a way that will influence others for the positive.

I know what Barkley said he was trying to say. He said he was trying to say youth in general and black youth in particular shouldn't look at athletes as their role models. He was trying to say they should try to emulate their parents. Sounds good, except as a person who has dealt up close and personal with black youngsters for decades around Atlanta -- ranging from speaking in elementary, junior high, high schools and colleges to teaching teenagers in Sunday School and leading youth groups -- many of them don't have two parents. Plus, according to statistics released by the U.S. census in May, 68% of black women who gave birth in the previous year were unmarried.

Not a lot of role modeling going on there.

Consider, too, that a large percentage of black youngsters raised by single women are latchkey kids, which means they come home to an empty dwelling to fend for themselves over long stretches of time. So many of those youngsters get their idea of how to survive and prosper from older folks in the neighborhood. Either that, or they look toward the most visible people they see on television. Actors, rappers, athletes. Which is why Barkley was a role model back then to millions, and which is why he remains one today -- whether he likes it or not.

The same is true of Sherman. And on that score, he was a loser on Sunday.

So Sherman deserved what he got in the aftermath.

The youth watching it all deserved better, period.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Terence Moore.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT