For the past four days, I have chosen to participate in social media on a very limited basis. I use all social media platforms for my business, so taking a “hiatus” isn’t really an option, but after what happened on Sunday night, I’ve only been able to stomach it in small doses. Let me explain…
I, along with most of America, sat and watched the nail biter of a match between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers during last Sunday’s NFC championship game. I love football, and I especially love to watch two incredibly talented teams show up and play hard. That’s exactly what happened. And you all know the outcome – Seattle won and they are headed to the Super Bowl. But unless you’re from Seattle, no one is really talking about that. Everyone’s talking about Richard Sherman and the interview he gave with Erin Andrews immediately after the game. You’ve all seen it – probably countless times by now. He hadn’t even stepped off the field after the victory before a reporter put a microphone to his mouth to get that first comment about how it feels to be headed to the Super Bowl. What followed was a diatribe about how he’s the best cornerback in the league, along with some pretty negative comments about an opposing team member. His rant was pretty rage-y and to be frankly honest, very uncomfortable to watch. It wasn’t your typical “we had a great game and I’m really excited to face the Broncos” statement. My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. It’s not often that celebrities or athletes are completely unable to remain composed in the media (Kanye, anyone?), so it’s a little unsettling. Like watching a married couple fight in front of you at a dinner party. But that’s exactly what happened – he lost his cool. Richard Sherman spent the week prior pumping himself up for one of the biggest games of his life, and at the height of emotion, he became unglued – in front of an audience of millions. Football is a tough sport, and if you are not mentally prepared to face the person that is going to PHYSICALLY (and painfully) get in the way of your victory, then you will be defeated. Richard Sherman clearly has a unique way of preparing himself, mentally.
Am I okay with how he responded in that interview? Let’s just say I think he handled himself poorly. He was immature and disrespectful. I think the leadership in that organization can do a much better job at teaching their players some effective public relations skills. However, my husband and I used it as a teachable moment for our 13 year-old, who loves the Seahawks. In our house, we have a saying: “Just score, and then hand the ball to the ref”. It’s a lesson in humility, which is a character trait that we feel is incredibly important for our children to display regularly. We want to teach our kids that when they are victorious in life, it’s important to be humble and gracious.
Better to be of humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. -Proverbs 16:19
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. -Matthew 5:5
The Bible is pretty clear on the importance of humility. Richard Sherman did not exemplify humility during his interview (and before you all argue the semantics, I realize he’s done this before). But you know what? He’s also human. I’ve lost my cool before. What’s worse, I’ve done it with my husband and children. But no one was there to pick me apart and tell me that I was a “thug” for doing so. No one tried to connect the dots between my upbringing (or socioeconomic standing, or color of my skin) and my anger. Are we really still living in such an intolerant society? The amount of bigoted, hateful remarks I’ve read on Facebook and Twitter in the subsequent days surrounding the game is ASTOUNDING.
I remember what it felt like when my team won the NFC Championship. I cried for my city. I was proud to be from New Orleans that day. It’s sad that the city of Seattle (a city near and dear to my heart) can’t rejoice in the moment of their team’s victory without feeling the need to defend a person for something stupid that he said. Their moment was stolen. Stolen by the rant of a hyped up, emotional, unrefined football player (who has since apologized). And stolen by the mass of people who have made it their quest to publicly thrash him for his mistake. What’s even worse is that the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (the day after the game) was completely overshadowed by the drama from this interview. My Facebook feed is usually full of quotes and articles and pictures about a man who pioneered the effort to give civil liberties to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, upbringing, or socioeconomic standing. But on Monday, it was full of hateful, offensive remarks directed at Sherman’s interview. Remarks riddled with the very ideologies that Dr. King gave his life to defeat. How ironic…and sad.
Richard Sherman is just a man. A man deserving of the grace that you and I receive when WE mess up. I’m going to take this opportunity to teach my kids about more than just humility. I’m also going to use it to teach them about grace. And more importantly – forgiveness.