Cornerback Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The evolution of one Richard Sherman is an incredible phenomenon in the annals of sports and society alike. You see, Mr. Sherman is the quintessential African-American male, not the notion of the maladjusted version that is represented in all forms of media. From the moment that he first began garnering attention back in 2011, it was apparent that Richard Sherman was going to be the type of player who would capture the moment, any moment, and make it his more often than not.

Who can forget the now-infamous photograph of Richard Sherman getting in the face of Tom Brady after his Seattle Seahawks defeated the New England Patriots 24-23, a game in which Richard Sherman’s defensive play was the deciding factor. Works of art that can be observed for reasons other than intrinsic face value are that much more important in today’s world. On the surface, the duality of the golden boy quarterback Tom Brady avoiding eye contact with the loudmouthed, dreadlocked, Compton-raised black man with an attitude, and didn’t Sherman get raked over the coals for that one?

They said he was a poor sportsman, he should show some respect, and let us not forget how often the thug word was thrown at him? Too many times to count. Nor can it be forgotten how Sherman expertly maneuvered the discussion surrounding it into one about race, appearances and assumptions.

Then, who could forget how the uninformed rushed to judgment during his postgame interview with Erin Andrews after a game in which he made the final play against the 49ers, his joy temporarily halted when he was disrespectfully mashed in the face by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree?

It was already known that Richard Sherman could give a good sound bite at that point in his career, so Erin Andrews was savvy enough to know that all she had to do was put the microphone in front of his face and he was going to explode, and Sherman obliged her.  

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Though he was loud, excited, brash and boisterous on that January evening in 2014, Richard Sherman did not use any profanity, nor did he disrespect Erin Andrews in any way. Given the circumstances of what had just occurred, the high of the victory, the low of being shoved in the face after an attempt at reconciliation with a vanquished opponent, it is easy for this writer to imagine a less savvy player behaving far worse in that situation. 

From that time through the 2014 Super Bowl, Richard Sherman has become something of a de facto spokesperson for the entire Seattle Seahawks roster, and his celebrity status has only grown from there. However, it is very interesting to observe a young man grow into such a nuanced individual in such a short period of time. 

Read more at the Shadow League.