I’m amazed at how far off the deep end people go when they encounter something or someone they don’t like. When that Dislike Zone is activated by what someone wears, says, or does, I’m shocked at where some people go.
I’m shocked because where they go is into their true self. You know–that deep-seated, down-in-the-gut place. The same one a lot of people go when they’ve had a little too much to drink and the filter is off. The Holy Truth Zone. And that is often when we find out that some people (maybe even those we know and love) are truly narrow-minded, racist, sexist, ageist, classist … whatever -ist applies. It’s when we can see some very ugly shit come from people. The kind of dark and nasty that makes me question how far we’ve actually come in our society.
And that’s exactly what happened in response to Richard Sherman.
Richard Sherman. He’s the star cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks and arguably the best corner in the NFL this year. His stats are superb and speak to his true talent. Additionally, he made an outstanding play that ended the San Francisco 49ers shot at a comeback win, sealing the playoff victory for the Seahawks–which also means they’re heading to the Superbowl. Certainly a reason to be excited. And he was most definitely riled up about it.
His after-the-big-play taunting and celebration earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but he didn’t care. There were only seconds to go and his team was heading to the Superbowl. He was ready to celebrate … in a Richard Sherman kind of way.
After the last seconds had ticked off the clock, he was immediately snagged by Erin Andrews for an on-air comment. Sherman had some pretty explicit things to say in that post-game interview. Explicit in the unequivocal way he stated that he believes he’s the best in the league, not in using any foul language. It was like a WWE Trash Talk-a-palooza. I wasn’t a fan and I thought it made him look like an egomaniacal ass. I was floored, though, to hear others’ responses to it. A bunch of people went racist–really hard-core, droppin’-the-N-word-like-it-was-oxygen, crazy racist.
Richard Sherman is still trending on Twitter, but it appears the Tweeting moderators have caught up on all the banning and deleting because what’s left out there isn’t like what hit the fan shortly after the game. But some of that was collected by Deadspin.com before it was all gone and they compiled a bunch of the crazy in their article Dumb People Say Stupid, Racist Shit About Richard Sherman. Seriously, it was a matter of seconds before people started popping off things like “jungle monkey,” “gorilla,” and lots of N-word laced rants.
It was pretty startling to see how many people–when induced by outrage, anger, annoyance, disappointment, or sore loser status–went into their honest, uncensored core and spewed racist comments. The usually hidden, held-under-cover bigotry had been let loose.
No matter how ugly and unbecoming any of those people found Richard Sherman to be in his comments, that performance pales in comparison to the absolutely disgusting behavior of the people who revealed their truth.
Richard Sherman was impassioned and loud, bold and brash, cocky and arrogant. If his conduct bothered you and you used any type of racially charged language in response, You Are a Racist Asshat.
*There is no time or place where it’s ok to be a racist. No excuse that undoes the damage. No qualifier that justifies the words. If you use language that denigrates others based on their race, You Are A Racist. You Are An Asshat–no “Might Be” about it.