Editorial:They Don’t Get It, But I Do
By Nathan Mair
Special to the Live Wire
Some people in America are having a hard time digesting Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s unceremonious remarks about San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree during his post-game interview after the Seahawk’s victory in the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers Jan. 19.
“Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me!” said the self-assertive cornerback. “Crabtree!” Sherman continued, “don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick! LOB!” (According to www.npr.org, “LOB” is a reference to the Seattle defense’s nickname “legion of boom”).
After watching Sherman’s rant, I couldn’t help but cheer the brother on. Not only does this make for exciting television, but it also adds hype to Super bowl XLVIII as the Seahawks face a worthy opponent: Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.But, unfortunately, not everyone in the country shared the same excitement like me after his statement. In fact, in the days that followed this infamous interview, Sherman has been receiving all kinds of flack, particularly through social media, from being a called a thug to a porch monkey. And this is supposed to be post-racial America right?
Watching this interview was not only like watch Hulk Hogan shoot a promo to hype the main event at WrestleMania but it was like watching the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in his prime. (Remember his dazzling wordplay? “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”)
Often, I fantasize about escaping this generation and growing up during Ali’s reign as Heavyweight Champion of the World, but me fantasizing about something like that will be cut down to a great degree because Richard Sherman gave me something to look forward to in this generation. And that is a black man declaring that he is the best and backing it up, in front of the entire nation.
I probably belong to a niche group of people who are applauding Sherman for his post-game remark and I’m perfectly fine with that. Others are only upset and disturbed because Sherman didn’t act like a humble little “negro” like they wanted him to.
Let’s face it, some people want black men to conform because any kind of unorthodox behavior that comes out of a black man, or any other person of color, is very frightening to white Americans. You see, white Americans have become desensitized to the idea of exploiting black men for their athletic prowess, but when it comes to a black man flipping the switch on them like a gorilla flipping the switch on a zoo keeper, now that’s when a problem becomes present.
You cannot tame a black man, just like you cannot tame an animal for a long time, because after a while nature will bite back. And it is in the black man’s nature to be strong and spirited, in part because of all things we went through historically and the things we still go through to today.
Sherman is a perfect example of a young black man who overcame the odds. He kept his head on his shoulders and survived the mean streets of Compton, Calif., to eventually become arguably the best cornerback in the NFL.
So he absolutely does have the right to go on national television to declare that he is the best because of his back story of going through the struggle. When I saw him deliver his rant, I didn’t see an angry black man like so many white people did. I saw a black king who had to first survive the ghetto and to now accept his crown as the best.
But then again, I do not expect white people to relate to that.