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Seahawks CB Richard Sherman: Response to postgame speech went ‘a little bit further than football’

01.23.14 at 9:04 am ET

In his first public appearance since his emotionally charged postgame interview Sunday, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he was shocked by the reaction to his comments.

“I was surprised by it. Because we’€™re talking about football here and a lot of people took it a little bit further than football.” Sherman said Wednesday. “I guess some people showed how far we have really come in this day and age and it was kind of profound what happened and people’€™s opinions of that nature because I was on a football field showing passion.”

After the Seahawks defeated the 49ers in the NFC championship game, Sherman took the attention off the game and put it on himself in an interview with Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews, shouting remarks that were generally directed at San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

On the last play of the game, Sherman deflected a pass in the end zone that was intended for Crabtree. When Sherman attempted to shake Crabtree’€™s hand seconds later, the 49er put his hand onto Sherman’€™s mask and pushed him away. Sherman has not reached out to Crabtree since the incident.

“Maybe it was misdirected, maybe things may have been immature, maybe things could have been worded better, but this is on a football field,” Sherman said. “I didn’t commit any crimes, I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I was showing passion after a football game.”

The cornerback went on to reference Saturday’€™s NHL game between the Canucks and the Flames, as a fight broke out just two seconds after the puck dropped.

“They didn’t even play hockey,” Sherman said. “They just threw their sticks aside and started fighting. I saw that and said, ‘€˜Oh, man, I’€™m the thug? What’€™s going on here? Geez.’€™ I’€™m really disappointed in being called a thug.”

Sherman’€™s problem with being called a thug involves his association with that label and a racial slur.

“The only reason it bothers me is it seems like it’€™s an accepted way of calling someone the N-word nowadays,” Sherman said. “It’€™s like everybody else said the N-word and they said thug and they’€™re like, ‘€˜That’€™s fine.’€™ That’€™s where it kind of takes me aback. It’€™s kind of disappointing because they know. What is the definition of a thug really?”

Although Sherman has received criticism for his actions, he has also received support from fellow athletes both inside and outside of the football realm.

“People are tired of hearing athletes speak about cliches trained by PR professionals,” said former Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth on Dennis & Callahan. “They want us to speak our minds, but then when somebody does, you know like Richard Sherman did in very, very passionate way … Could have handled it a bit better? Yes, he could.”

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron also showed his support for Sherman as he tweeted, “hang in there & keep playing as well as you did Sunday. Excellent job — you have my support.”

For Sherman, his interview showed more of an old-school football mentality.

“I studied the old-school game more than I studied the new-school game, and I play it that way. It rubs a lot of people the wrong way,” Sherman said. “Giving a true speech after a game, a true passionate speech, is old-school football. Playing press corner and sitting up there every play is old-school football. I guess maybe I just haven’€™t adjusted to the times.”

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