by Roger Pynn
I worked as a volunteer alongside a college athletic director who used to say “athletics is different.” Steve Sloan, then AD at my Alma Mater (University of Central Florida), was talking about how he perceived college sports were to be marketed. We disagreed. He believed people attended if you won. I believe people attend college games for three reasons: a sense of loyalty, entertainment and pride in your won-loss records.
I also think people admire athletes at all levels for their character, in addition to their athletic prowess.
Standout Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is trending, more for a rant after Sunday’s Seattle playoff victory over San Francisco than for his on-field performance.
Interestingly, the bombastic guy we saw shrieking into Erin Andrews’ microphone is anything but what we saw there. He’s an articulate, intelligent and thoughtful man who just happens to also play football and gets excited. Go figure.
The rant that followed his has become equally “excited.” I’ve seen people I respect posting thoughts on social media in which they referred to Sherman with words you shouldn’t use in public. And there’s a pretty nasty conversation going on that can only be seen as borderline racist.
I hope people listen to the Sherman who has emerged in post-rant interviews, a man concerned about the social dialogue in our country. And I hope he and others in sports sit back and look at how temper plays on camera. It isn’t pretty, and just like racism, out-of-control temperament can’t be a positive influence on the young and impressionable.
Do you think that’s the message he meant to send?