A man of many thoughtful words — as well as some regrettable ones — Richard Sherman was selected by Time magazine in 2014 for its list of 100 most influential people.
Never has the former Seahawks star expressed words more influential, for him, than a sentence in a tweet he published a little before noon Friday:
“The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need.”
In a drunken spree of harrowing recklessness, Sherman put himself, his family, highway workers and police in physical jeopardy, and his many friends and fans in despair. It put him in a chair in King County District Court Friday, where he was arraigned on five misdemeanor charges. He pleaded not guilty, but that is a legal maneuver to buy time in part to start doing what he tweeted.
He won’t be able to talk or tweet his way out of what he did. But he can, at 33, start to chart a course for what he can do with the rest of his life, now that his stellar football career, in which he is a free agent after three years with the San Francisco 49ers, appears to be over.
In addition to the four charges disclosed Thursday by the King County Prosecutor’s office, a fifth was added Friday: Reckless endangerment of roadway workers.
The previous charges included two domestic-violence counts, criminal trespass in the second degree and malicious mischief in the third degree, along with resisting arrest and driving while under the influence.
According to a prosecutor’s office spokesperson, the DUI and reckless endangerment charges are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. The other charges are simple misdemeanors, which carry a maximum 90-day jail term.
His next court date is Aug. 13 for a pre-trial hearing.
The text of Sherman’s tweet conveyed regret and a suggestion of longer-term travail:
“I am deeply remorseful for my actions on Tuesday night. I behaved in a manner I am not proud of. I have been dealing with some personal challenges over the last several months, but that is not an excuse for how I acted. The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need. I appreciate all of the people who have reached out in support of me and my family, including our community here in Seattle. I am grateful to have such an amazing wife, family and support system to lean on during this time.”
His wife, Ashley Moss Sherman, came and left the courtroom holding hands with Sherman.
It was her urgent, frightened calls to 911, now part of the public record, that brought Redmond police and the Washington State Patrol to the home of Moss’s father, Raymond. Ashley had driven there with the couple’s two children after a dispute with Sherman at their Maple Valley home. Raymond Moss told police he stood inside the front door that Sherman nearly broke through. Armed with a handgun, Moss repelled a belligerent Sherman with pepper spray shortly before police arrived.
According to charging documents from the officers, Sherman talked about his two children being “taken from him,” although no other details were provided. He did not take his arres willingly, shoving multiple officers before being tackled by another, and bitten by a police dog.
Moss Sherman wrote in an email provided by her attorney Thursday: “I love and support my husband. I am committed to helping Richard get the support and care that he needs. Richard has always been a loving father and husband. And we are looking forward to seeing him at home with his family.”
However, in February, King County prosecutors and the sheriff obtained an “extreme risk protection order” for Sherman, who had no previous criminal history. The ERPO barred him from having guns after a judge determined he posed a danger to himself or others. Details of the case were sealed, and it was not clear if any weapons had been seized from him.
The Seattle Times reported that Superior Court Commissioner Mark Hillman made publicly viewable the findings and conclusions via the court clerk’s electronic court records system.
Hillman ruled that sealing the protection-order petition was necessary to protect Sherman’s privacy, given “the sensitive nature of the position and the individual’s public status . . . Nothing short of temporary, complete sealing can safely protect the named individual’s mental health, which is currently in crisis.”
Hillman sealed the records for six months, expiring Aug. 3.
Hobbled by injuries, Sherman played just five games in his final contract year of 2020, the last on Dec. 20. Even before then, Sherman told reporters he presumed the 49ers would not re-sign him. When NFL free agency began in March, the three-time All-Pro selection received no offers. In interviews, he indicated he was ready for another season, mentioning that he was open to a return to Seattle, where he starred from 2011-2017, despite a fraught exit.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said May 1 after the college draft that he and Sherman “had talked quite a few times,” but nothing was offered.
“We have stayed in contact,” Carroll said. “He’s out there. I know he’s thinking about it. He’s looking for an opportunity. I saw where he said there were three or four teams that he’s considering, or whatever.
“So, we’ll see what happens. But, he’s been a great player and he’s still got some ball left in him, I’m sure.”
Football now, of course, is irrelevant. As Sherman put it, he has an “extemely real” priority.