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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MLK Day and Richard Sherman (or, Just Because Chris Rock Said It...)

Warning: Graphic content follows.  Words and video are in this blog that are nowhere near appropriate for most people to see, say or hear in public.

I'm not a Seahawks fan, but people are way overreacting to Richard Sherman's post-game interview.  He made a fantastic, game-winning, send-your-team-to-the-Super-Bowl play, and immediately after was interviewed about a play he made on a player he didn't like.    The response has ranged from finger-wagging to just plain shameful.

Before I get into the meat of this post, let's start with the source, in my opinion, of the problem.

In 1996, Chris Rock's HBO special, Bring The Pain, famously and hilariously makes the distinction between black people and "niggas."  I'm a fan of Chris Rock.  At the time, it was kinda-sorta more acceptable for black people to refer to other black people as "nigga," or "my nigga."  The rationale was that we took something that was meant to demean and turned it into a insider thing of respect.  Looking back, that was stupid.  But that's not the point.

Chris Rock's famous rant about "niggas" made a specific distinction between "undesirable elements" and normal black people, and through that distinction made it okay for people to use the word who had no business using the words, and using it for its original purpose to boot.  I got into several conversations with my more melanin-deprived friends on the East Coast in the months and years immediately following that HBO special that went something like this: "I fucking hate niggers, they're lazy and unmotivated and steal my stuff and my girl.  Not you though, you're cool."


Just because Chris Rock said it doesn't make it okay for you to say it.

So, flash forward 18 years.  Richard Sherman makes his play.  He has his interview.  Then, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, comes the internet response.

Whoa, white dude.  WTF?

For the record, Richard Sherman went to Stanford.  As in, Ivy League.  And he was a 3.9 student.  Which means, even by the Chris Rock definition, he's not.

Wow.  Speechless.  Stay classy, dude.

You can see the rest here.

By no means is this okay.  The N-word isn't cool.  You don't legitimize your "down" ness by spouting it off at every turn.  And there is no distinction.  We're black people, African-American, not niggers.  You don't distinguish, you demean.  Especially when you call someone who's done things, and is doing things, that you can't.  Such as go from a 3.9 at Stanford to the best cornerback in the NFL.

Chris Rock was wrong.


  1. Yo, He called him out, no different then wrestling, boxing, so on and so forth. White America is just on some bitch shit since the black man made it to the top office. Unlike MADONNA, he did not drop the N-Bomb so what is the problem. Its a physical sport. GET OVER IT is my point of view.

  2. John, I agree. The stuff that happens in a sport is theater. I'm not at all upset with what Sherman said. My issue is with the Twitter-verse over the response. It's shameful.

  3. I think that shermans post game was the most authentic human response that I have seen an athlete give ever.. that being said seattleites be proud that you have one of the best and smartest players in the nfl. IF ANY OF YOU complainers has ever played in a championship game of any level and had the game changing play to save or win, that is how I hope most would act it was true and real. So stop the bitching and the name calling cause it doesn't make your point any more valid

  4. I am not name-calling on Richard Sherman. I'm calling out the people who are