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Friday, October 31, 2014

Richard Sherman: ‘Thug’ is accepted way of calling someone n-word

Richard Sherman U MadRichard Sherman addressed the critics who have labeled him a “thug” by saying that “thug” has become an accepted version of calling someone the n-word.

“The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays. Because they know,” Sherman said Wednesday, via Deadspin.

“I know some ‘thugs,’ and they know I’m the furthest thing from a thug. I’ve fought that my whole life, just coming from where I’m coming from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that, you just think ‘thug, he’s a gangster, he’s this, that, and the other,’ and then you hear Stanford, and they’re like, ‘oh man, that doesn’t even make sense, that’s an oxymoron.’

“You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”

Sherman is right — he is the furthest thing from a thug. “Thug” is defined by Dictionary.com as “a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.” He’s nothing of the sort. Now Aaron Hernandez, well, he would definitely fit the description of a thug. But not Sherman.

Sherman acted like an a-hole on the field after setting up the game-clinching interception in the NFC Championship Game. He taunted his opponents, mocked them and he was the opposite of classy. And then he went nuts in his postgame interview, going on a rant that I found to be funny and entertaining more than anything else. Others were put off by his emotional outburst.

But you know who I blame most for the conversation turning racial? The media.

Talk show hosts and media outlets LOVE talking about racial issues because those draw ratings and bring in the eyeballs and pageviews and get people talking. For instance, Deadspin stoked the conversation more than any other online outlet that I saw. They compiled the racist Twitter reactions from a select few Twitter users. These weren’t notable Twitter users. These weren’t media personalities or people whose opinions matter. These were nobodies who happened to write racist comments on their Twitter accounts.

The truth is you can find tweets like these about almost any subject if you actively look for it (I’ve done it a few times when compiling hate tweets some athletes have received). I bet the person who put it together just searched “richard sherman ape” “richard sherman monkey” and “richard sherman nigger” on Twitter and just embedded those tweets in a post. They were looking for the racism because that’s how they wanted to frame the conversation (and the dirty little secret is that posts like that just rake in traffic).

Then Deadspin followed up their post on the racist things random Twitter users said about Sherman by counting how many times “thug” was said on TV the next day, and the continued the racist discussion by publishing an opinion piece on Sherman the “conquering negro.”

Yes, there are still a lot of racist people in America. Yes, white people may be more naturally inclined to view/give the benefit of the doubt to white athletes more than blacks, but let’s not forget the real issue here: Richard Sherman acted like a clown at the end of the game and in his interview, and that’s why people are talking about him. He was a total a-hole. Whether he’s white or black, any athlete who acts like that is going to get called out for being obnoxious. He’s like the Chael Sonnen of the NFL, and there are plenty of white people who can’t stand Sonnen’s act and dislike him.

So let’s drop the confusion: Sherman’s not a thug, he’s just an a-hole.



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