I have the utmost respect for you. I and my son Malcolm actually started rooting for you and Seattle after watching you in the NFC Championship in 2014 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Everything that transpired as far as the “thug” accusations and uproar from mainstream America that you sparked was an eye-opening lesson for Malcolm on how he will be perceived by society. He has long dreadlocks, loves sports, plays aggressively, and is passionate just like you. So when they were calling you a thug, disgrace, that you set black people back, 8-year-old Malcolm learned a very valuable lesson that will prepare him for life. He learned that perception becomes reality even if it is based on a false narrative.
We watched how you handled everything with class, dignity, and poise. How you made them eat their words by showering them with not only intelligence but brilliance. They picked the perfect person to wrongfully call a thug. We followed you after that. Listened to your speeches. Rooted for your team. Bought your jersey as Malcolm wore it proudly. We became Richard Sherman fans. Your willingness to stand up for what you believe is a great example to all young athletes to follow your lead and use their positions as platforms. To give a voice to the voiceless in the tradition of Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, and Bill Russell.
However, after seeing your press conference a few days ago where you discussed Black Lives Matter, I felt there was a lot that was left out in your address.
In your words:
“We need to deal with our own internal issues before we move forward and start pointing fingers and start attacking other people. We need to solidify ourselves as people and deal with our issues, because I think as long as we have black-on-black crime and, you know, one black man killing another.… if black lives matter, then it should matter all the time. You should never let somebody get killed—that’s somebody’s son, that’s somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s friend. So you should always keep that in mind”
The main takeaway from your address appears suggest that “black-on-black” crime somehow excuses police brutality, or at least is a more urgent issue to address. Now, I know you didn’t say that exactly, but that’s what was heard. When you see the various articles written after this press conference, they are branded with titles such as “Richard Sherman Blasts Black Lives Matter Activist,” and “Richard Sherman Holds Nothing Back in Amazing Condemnation of Black Lives Matter Activist.”