I along with most of NFL-loving America watched the last few minutes of the nail-biting NFC Championship game between San Francisco and Seattle. I was pacing back and forth and couldn’t believe yet another big game was coming down to the final seconds. I’ll admit, I was bummed. I was a Niners fan all through my youth and still cheer for them in the NFC, but I married into the love of the Buffalo Bills and we ride as a team in the AFC house. But it was the event after the end of the game that had me shaking my head … and I know I am not alone.
I am a Stanford alum and so is Richard Sherman. I know the way we are taught to respect not only ourselves, but also our teammates, our school, and our game. I was cringing watching Sherman. I was disappointed on so many levels, but first and foremost, I was bummed for him. I knew he was going to regret the interview the next day.
I can’t embed the video without infringing on copyright, so here’s a link to the video of Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman’s interview with Erin Andrews on FOX and his explanation…
The emotion of the moment is not an excuse to act the way Richard Sherman did. He’s better than that. The Seahawks and their fans are better than that. I found it curious that he chose to tell everyone he was the best at his position because from my experience, the best tend to let their actions speak for themselves. In fact, some of the greatest (Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all time, excluded) never uttered anything about themselves, as they constantly strived to be better and never satisfied.
I hope every family watching the game had a chance to sit down with their kids and talk about Sherman’s post game actions and to remind them that it is far from cool to call out a fellow player the way he did or act out like that in the moment. It was the perfect chance to explain that the moment should have been an opportunity to celebrate and focus on the amazing team effort that got them to the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history! Now that’s a BIG deal. It was a sportsmanship lesson.
When I finally won my gold medal, it was at the end of a VERY long week. I had been touched out at the wall by too many girls, some of whom had been under the suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs. I could have been very upset and let it get to me, but I chose not to react that way. And when I finally won on that last day of the biggest swimming competition of my life, I ONLY focused on the positive. The other very interesting thing is that I never felt like I was BEST IN THE WORLD, even with the hardware to prove it. I won the medal, something I’d been training to do all my life and was so happy to share it with my family and my teammates because they helped me get there. Then I went back to Stanford and started to focus on the next thing on my list.
Sherman’s reaction was a fabulous reminder of how sports are SO much more than just a game. They mean so very much to all of us, and our emotions ramp up big time … even as fans. But when it comes down to it, we all have that SOMEONE who is watching us … our parents, our kids, our companies, and we need to take a breath and show respect! Respect for yourself most of all! Be better than the best of all time … know it in your heart!