January 21, 2014

Boastful cornerback = "thug"?

Interesting case study of racial politics in 2014:

Richard Sherman goes on postgame rant with Erin Andrews (video)

By Cindy BorenThe Seattle Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl with an emotional, physical, exhausting victory over the San Francisco 49ers and no one was more heated after the win than Richard Sherman.

Here’s a transcript:

“I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me.” When Andrews asked who was talking about him, he replied, “Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’ll shut it for you real quick. LOB [Legion of Boom]!”
This quickly brought out America's legion of racists:

Dumb People Say Stupid, Racist Shit About Richard Sherman

Racist Rants About Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Sherman apologizes

Richard Sherman: Rant was 'immature,' reaction 'mind-boggling'

By Lateef Mungin and Steve Almasy, CNN"I probably shouldn't have attacked another person," he told Nichols in an exclusive interview that will air in its entirety Friday night on CNN's "Unguarded."

"You know, I don't mean to attack him. And that was immature and I probably shouldn't have done that. I regret doing that."

But then, Sherman turned the spotlight on to him, making himself the victim, defending his actions and saying that what he regretted most was the way the media covered his rant.

He also said he was shocked by some of the racists responses he received.

"It was really mind-boggling the way the world reacted," Sherman said. "I can't say the world, I don't want to generalize people like that because there are a lot of great people who didn't react that way. But for the people who did react that way and throw the racial slurs and things like that out there, it was really sad. Especially that close to Martin Luther King Day."

"I learned we haven't come as far as I thought we had," Sherman added. "I thought society had moved past that."
Why Richard Sherman Shouldn’t Have To Apologize For His Post-Game Interview

By Travis WaldronI can only imagine that by now you’ve seen Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s post-game interview from Sunday’s NFC Championship, the one in which he called San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree “sorry” and proclaimed that he was the best defensive back in football. The interview earned him no shortage of backlash on Twitter, Facebook, and all the other conductors of insta-reaction/outrage, and it earned him plenty of criticism in the sports media too.

Sherman is a “classless” “thug” who forgot for 30 seconds Sunday night that athletes are supposed to stick to language that would make corporate PR executives swoon. That’s the case even for an athlete like Sherman, who had a microphone in his face mere minutes after making the biggest play of his life in the biggest game of his life. There’s a code in sports that says you can’t talk smack about your opponents even if it’s what you believe, because that’s “classless” and “thuggish,” or something like that. It’s a code of dishonesty, but it’s a code Richard Sherman violated. And so Monday, he apologized.
And:We’ve been led to believe that Sherman said something awful, but watch the clip again. He criticizes a wide receiver on a rival team that he’s been battling for 60 minutes and he claims to have a personal history with. He claims he’s the best defensive back in the game. Neither of those seem to be outlandish enough to warrant the outrage they generated, at least not from anyone whose name isn’t Michael Crabtree. And neither of those statements seem to necessitate an apology, at least not to anyone who isn’t Michael Crabtree. So what’s Sherman apologizing for? For becoming a distraction. And that’s even more amazing, because the idea that he was a distraction—that catch-all term we use to criticize athletes when they step outside the realm of what the sports world deems acceptable—is nonsense that ignores that this turned into a major story for no particularly legitimate reason.

"Thug" talk

America’s racial double standard: White celebs are excused, but black stars are “thugs”

White stars escape the judgment Richard Sherman received--even if, like Justin Bieber, they get arrested

By Beanie Barnes
Following the NFC Championship game last weekend, Richard Sherman gave an interview to Erin Andrews. He yelled to millions watching in their living rooms about being the best and shutting down opposing receiver Michael Crabtree. However, following his interview, he somehow morphed from a football player who had just reached the pinnacle of sports achievement into a racial stereotype.

Suddenly he was “classless,” a “thug” from Compton, and any manner of other negative terms that one can substitute for the N-word. Sherman was no longer human, but a racist caricature.

Black people exist in a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” space within American conversation. If a black person does something that’s seen as negative, that negative behavior is used as yet another example of how “we” are. Negative behavior, so it goes, is just inherent in “us.”

On the flip side, if a black person achieves something positive, the positive achievement is often dismissed as either undeserved or the result of an innate gift the achiever can’t take credit for. Many people believe President Obama only got into Harvard because of affirmative action, and just as many believe he was only elected into office (twice, no less) because he is black. In sports, the success of white athletes is most often attributed to “smarts” and “hard work,” but the success of black athletes is often attributed to “natural ability” or “God-given” talent.
Richard Sherman, Thugs, and Black Humanity

By Olivia A. ColeToday I’m wondering what it takes for a black man to be regarded as human in America.

Today Richard Sherman is being lambasted for his animated post-game interview in which he dared to express emotion outside of the cubic centimeter men of color are allotted. A cornerback in one of the most physically demanding sports in the country—after a game in which bodies were injured and crushed; after a game that required players to be helped off the field—wins a critical game and has a microphone stuck in his face. He says what he says, and suddenly the nation is clutching its pearls, tutting and making pretend-concerned remarks about sportsmanship and graciousness. Today, Tom Brady criticizes Richard Sherman for his lack of “graciousness.” Today, Richard Sherman is being called a thug, and I’m wondering what that word really means.

Does it mean foul-mouthed? After all, Tom Brady was never called a thug. Not when he got in the ref’s face when losing to the Panthers and dropped the F-bomb on national television just two months ago. What about Richie Incognito, when he called Jonathan Martin the n-word on his voicemail? That’s a foul word, isn’t it? I didn’t hear Incognito referred to as a thug either. Or does “thug” mean violent? I’m not sure. Because, despite his animation, Sherman didn’t use a single curse word. He didn’t threaten anyone’s safety or injure anyone.

The truth is, I only ever hear “thug” applied to black people. And not just adult men. A black toddler made news recently when Omaha police posted a video on their website of the child cursing and holding up his middle finger. The child was described as a thug by Omaha police, who insisted they only shared the video to show “the cycle of thuggery.” The video was posted without the knowledge or consent of the child’s mother.
Richard Sherman: “Thug” is simply the “accepted way of calling somebody the N-word”

The Seattle Seahawks player calls out those who demonized him for his post-game remarks

By Elias Isquith
Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman spoke in Seattle on Wednesday with the media, expressing regret that his infamous post-game boisterousness had distracted many from appreciating the hard work and talent of his fellow teammates and calling out those who were quick to label him a “thug.”

“The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays,” Sherman said. “It’s like everybody else said the N-word, and then they say ‘thug.’ And that’s fine. That’s where it’s kind of, you know—it kind of takes me aback. And it’s kind of disappointing, because they know. What’s the definition of a thug, really?”

Sherman isn’t the only one who has noticed a not-so-subtle racial subtext in some of his harshest critics’ words. Forget subtext, actually—as the sports blog Deadspin has shown, much of the response to Sherman, especially on Twitter, was blatantly, unapologetically racist. But the “thug” charge has been more prominent. As Deadspin noted in a separate post, the Monday following Sherman’s post-game interview saw the word “thug” used on television 625 times, “more often than on any other day in the past three years.”
Has 'thug' become a covert substitute for the N-word?

By VeronicaSComedian Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” said something interesting on his show Friday. He thinks the T-word (thug) is being used as a weapon today like the N-word (nig**r) was used in the good ole days of open racism sanctioned by the Union.

Does he have a point?

It does appear that those loudly calling every black guy a thug on television, the Internet and talk radio have found another way to denigrate, dehumanize and spew bile at black men.

When white men or white teens act out, take drugs, rape, riot, get arrested, commit mass murder and repeatedly break the law, they are never called thugs in the media.

When Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who came from Compton to beat the odds and attend a prestigious university like Stanford, gets pumped up on victorious excitement, adrenaline and aggression—all things football encourages—he is promptly labelled a thug. The 25-year-old’s taunting antics have even cost him a $7,875 fine.

But when teen pop idol Justin Bieber breaks the law numerous times here and abroad, racks up more than $20,000 in damages by vandalizing other people’s property, takes drugs, gets arrested, assaults people, drag races—no one in the media refers to him as a thug.

Uppity? Too bad

Finally, a columnist ties this incident to what Indians and other minorities have to deal with.

We Are Not Your Grandparents’ Minorities: The Richard Sherman Debate

By Lyle JacobsSo why, over the past 24 hours, has Richard Sherman been the hottest topic in sports? Simple: because Richard Sherman is a black professional athlete who refused to conform to the role of the obedient negro that white America expects a black professional athlete to play.And:Is Richard Sherman acting like a thug in this video? What about a monkey? Asshole? Cocky nigger? Or is Richard Sherman acting like a guy who just made the biggest play of his career to reach the biggest stage his livelihood offers and was high off of emotion after battling a rival who was obviously talking trash throughout the game? In the whitest of all sports, hockey, when a guy violently attacks another he isn’t labeled a thug, he is labeled a perfect teammate. What if someone like Tom Brady gave an interview like this? Would he be a classless, cocky thug? Of course not. Tom Brady would probably be called “emotional,” “fiery,” and “inspirational” after an interview like this. Man, that guy has a desire to win. What a competitor! Look at the fire in his eyes, the passion in his speech! A million different variations of that bullshit would be spewed by all the racially biased internet trolls and commentators in the mainstream. But because Richard Sherman is a black professional athlete, a minority, not a white man, who showed some personality and got “cocky” on national television, he is labeled a thug.And:Too often minority men in all aspects of life are ostracized for not fulfilling their assigned role in society. The moment one refuses to play the subservient, obedient, white-washed, “masta please” role they are a thug, classless, and an embarrassment. Richard Sherman broke that role and told society that minority males are no longer allocated to the back page by playing the role you want us to play. We are stepping out of your glass box with our talents, educations, and communities behind us. The days of you telling us how we are supposed to act is over. Thank you Richard Sherman, for smashing that glass box that kept us in the back of the bus for so long.Comment:  We've seen this hero/thug dichotomy many times during America's Native history. People such as Columbus, Jackson, and Custer have been called heroes for killing or enslaving Indians. Unlike the Indians, they were lionized for their savage behavior.

For more on the subject, see The Rage of Angry White Men and "Defund Obamacare" = "Nigger, Nigger."

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