Richard Sherman alleges ‘racism still alive’ in America

By Neal McNamara | May 9, 2014
Richard Sherman

Fresh off signing a $57.4 million contract – with $40 million guaranteed – superhuman Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is back in the news, and he’s back expounding on the topic of race.

In an interview with Time magazine, Sherman basically said that America is still a racist place. He said he felt that racism after his famous (or infamous, if you’re a San Francisco 49ers fan) comments on TV dissing Michael Crabtree.

After Sherman’s January rant went viral, many took to Twitter and Facebook to call Sherman a “thug,” which he interpreted as being code for the N-word.

That experience “showed me that America still had some progress to make,” Sherman told Time. “On equality, and understanding that it doesn’t matter what color you are, you treat people as people. And whether a good person or a bad person, you don’t judge them off the color of their skin.”

“There’s a lot of racism still alive and still active. And it just forced America to rethink it once again. And to really, really understand that racism isn’t gone.”

But KTTH host Ben Shapiro – an admitted huge Richard Sherman fan – has an issue with Sherman’s comments. Shapiro thinks that Sherman should stick to football, and avoid talking politics.

“When Richard Sherman sounds off on politics, it’s deeply problematic because all of the aspects of his actual life that he embodies – hard work, excellence, disregarding the obstacles to get ahead – all of that goes out the window as soon as he starts to talk,” Shapiro said.

LISTEN: SHAPIRO DISCUSSES RICHARD SHERMAN RACE ALLEGATIONS

Host David Boze said it was unfair for Sherman to allege racism against America just because a few Internet trolls called him names on Twitter.

“I wouldn’t judge American society based on what people might say on the Internet and other forms of social media,” Boze said. “I think too many people, not just Sherman here or other prominent social celebrity figures, point to something that happens on the Internet and comments they receive and claim this is somehow reminiscent of America – I’d say that’s not true.”

A few Internet trolls, Boze said, can cause a lot of havoc, and usually they’re just doing it to kick the metaphorical bee’s nest to watch a swarm.

Time began its interview with Sherman by asking about the comments made by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sherman told the magazine he “wasn’t really shocked” by Sterling’s comments because of his experience being called a thug.

Sherman said the NFL would not have banned Sterling like the NBA did. That’s because the NFL tolerates the Washington Redskins’ name, which Sherman thinks is racist.

“Because we have an NFL team called the Redskins [they wouldn’t punish someone like Sterling]. I don’t think the NFL really is as concerned as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom line league. If it doesn’t affect their bottom line, they’re not as concerned,” Sherman told Time.

Sherman stated that he  moved the conversation on race forward after his Crabtree outburst  by suggesting the word “thug” means more; Shapiro disagreed.

“More conversation, Richard? Why don’t you go scream at someone else and then we could have more conversations,” Shapiro said. “Is it possible to dislike the behavior of a black person in the United States and not be a racist anymore? Is it possible to think that Richard Sherman was over the top and not be labeled racist or think, for example, the behavior of the two women who beat up their baby daddy – that’s language from the Smoking Gun, not mine – all three happen to be black, think their behavior might be a little wrong without suggesting, ‘Oh, this is racist?’”

Shapiro reasoned that the history of racism in America includes despicable acts like Jim Crow laws and slavery, not vague insults made on social media against an athlete who gets paid millions of dollars to work for a majority-minority sports league.

“Great cornerback, not a great thinker,” Shapiro said. “I’m not saying he’s stupid, but he’s certainly not someone who’s thinking clearly. He’s an articulate guy; he’s capable of speaking well; he’s obviously a great football player.

“It would be nice if he would stop insulting the vast majority of Americans by claiming he and folks who look like him are inherently victims of some great, broad prejudice of which he can’t name a single instance, except people didn’t like when he screamed at another black player and said he was a thug.”

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