When we would next hear from Richard Sherman about his time in Seattle, I had hoped he would be relevant and topical, the rhetorical trademarks from his Seahawks playing days. Perhaps with a little less bombast, figuring his career was concluding. But he was almost always worthy of a listen.
In his current situation, relevant and topical means matters of his personal welfare — mental health, relationships, alcohol use, gun ownership.
Among top-tier pro athletes, those are normally seldom-shared subjects. But Sherman made them matters of public concern in mid-July, when he was charged with five misdemeanors in King County District Court following a reckless, drunken spree so intimidating that his father-in-law felt compelled to arm himself in his own home as the front door was being battered by the former All-Pro cornerback.
Sherman pleaded not guilty, and although none of the charges claimed he harmed anyone, his close encounters with tragedy required units of the Washington State Patrol and Redmond police to subdue him.
A subsequent investigation by the Seattle Times of King County Sheriff’s office documents revealed that in mid-December 2020, his family removed his four handguns and a semi-automatic rifle from their Maple Valley home. The sheriff’s office also intervened to block a purchase of another gun from an authorized dealer. Police accounts included telephone messages saying he was thinking about killing himself.
Shortly after the harrowing episode, Sherman tweeted out a statement that read in part, “I am deeply remorseful for my actions on Tuesday night. I behaved in a manner I am not proud of . . . The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need.”
Whether written by Sherman or an attorney, that public pledge to seek help was the mandatory-minimum right thing to say.
The case hasn’t reached resolution or trial yet, so my guess was that Sherman, who this season played five games and 140 snaps with Tampa Bay, would stay on the down low regarding matters in Seattle.
Sherman now has a podcast on the Pro Football Focus platform. As you may have heard last week, he used it to . . . well, mock Seahawks fans.
Apparently he was upset because the public fallout after a 7-10 finish included some ungrateful remarks about firing Pete Carroll and dumping Bobby Wagner, as well as a failure to appreciate the rare greatness provided by the Legion of Boom era, of which he was a principal.
To which the only logical response is: So?
It’s pro football.
Naturally, there was unhappiness with the outcome and the usual mutterings of the intemperate. But I detected no massing of pitchforks and torches. Sherman identified the perps as “these fans.”
“These fans had never won anything before we got here. They had never won anything. They went to the Super Bowl in ’06 and were happy to be there, and that was their biggest claim. And then we get there, we win a Super Bowl, we spoiled them with historic defense and then all of a sudden that’s their expectation.”
Sherman went on to outline the potential collapse of the empire, somehow driven in part by fans’ unrealistic expectations.
“Seattle fans are gonna hate to hear this because they hate accountability these days, but they’re probably going to get rid of Bobby. And once you do that, that’s it. That’s it. You’re in a rebuild. I don’t care if Russell (Wilson) is there or not there, you’re in rebuild mode.
“They’re like, ‘We got to get rid of these guys. They’re past their prime.’ . . . Like, ‘We’ve got to draft another All-Pro player.’ How many have you drafted? There hasn’t been another All-Pro corner since I left. To think that you can just replace and go on and think, ‘Oh, the Super Bowl should still be the expectation.’ No, it should not. You should lower your expectation substantially . . . They were talking about (getting) rid of us and they were like, ‘We got replacements. We got LOB 2.0.’ And then you got rid of us and then you realize you don’t. You realize we were once in a generation talent and you should have kept it and appreciated it when you had it.
“Even if Bobby is past his prime, (if) he’s three years past his prime, he’s better than everybody you (could) get in after him. He’s better than 85% of the middle linebackers in the league right now. And that’s what they don’t understand.”
While Wagner likely was less than thrilled to be identified publicly by his old teammate as three years past his prime, Sherman offered tips on how to handle Wilson.
“People were like, ‘Let Russ cook, let Russ cook.’ You did not win a Super Bowl letting Russ cook. You have not been anywhere close to a Super Bowl letting Russ cook. And you will not be close to a Super Bowl if you let him throw 30-40 times a game, because you’re stopping the clock. So your defense, your time of possession, your propensity to turn the ball over. is going to increase. Your defense is going to be out there longer, so they’re going to be more tired, they’re not going to be as effective. And unless you got some Hall of Fame, like, All-Pro player, they’re not gonna be able to stand up because you’re gonna be in shoot-outs.”
In response to a remark from guest and former teammate Cliff Avril, “If change comes, guess what?” Sherman said, “Oh my god. You talk about a rebuild – they get rid of Pete Carroll. Good luck.
“After one losing season – ‘fire him.’ Like, ‘reset.’ I don’t think they truly understand what it was like before. I don’t think they remember, because it’s been a decade of of greatness. It’s been a decade of winning, of a culture change, and now they’re like ‘get rid of Pete.’ Like, ‘We’re tired. He’s predictable. We’re tired of the gum chewing.’ . . . He leaves, you’re gonna be tired of losing – immediately.”
Regardless of Sherman’s football diagnoses of the Seahawks, he made sweeping general denigrations of all fans over the views of the contentions of a relative few, and said they “hate accountability” while overlooking his own lack of public accountability for life-threatening misdeeds.
How easy it would have been for Sherman to say, “Critics of the Seahawks overlook . . .”
Instead he chose to mock people who supported him in good times and may want to be empathetic toward him during his bad times.
Anger management seems to be a lifelong chore for Sherman, 34 next month. It nearly reached a tragic nadir in July. Despite his claim that “mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need,” the latest evidence suggests little has changed.
More than his critiques of Seahawks fans and players, he can offer some accounting about how Sherman is managing Sherman. It’s not a sports issue; he raised the expectation to a public safety issue.