Are you a football fan? A couple of pretty awesome, down-to-the-wire games this weekend. And rightfully so! The stakes were high, after all!
I was watching, cheering for Seattle (over the 49ers– the Fail Mary over the 2x post-season Packer defeat, the lesser of two evils), and having pizza with friends. And we, like pretty much everyone else, were pretty floored by Richard Sherman’s post-game interview. I mean, dang! He was amped!
The Internet pretty much BLEW UP over Richard Sherman’s comments. And I mean BOOM. There were articles condemning Sherman, articles defending him, biographical articles, and tweets, tweets, tweets galore! It was certainly hard not to think about Richard Sherman, or at least note of him, in the days following that game.
So Sherman’s “rant” was on my mind. And it was on my mind as I worked my way further into Robert Louis Stevenson’s Scottish tale The Master of Ballentrae when I realized what it was that Sherman was actually doing: paying tribute to a literary classic!
It makes sense if you think about it. Sherman graduated at the top of his high school class with a GPA of 4.2– no small feat considering he came from Compton, a notoriously tough suburb of LA. He went on to graduate from Stanford and even started a masters there before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. Of course he’s a fan of the classics… and of course he was paying homage to Henry Durie when he made his post-game speech! Don’t believe me? I’ll show you!
First, here’s what Sherman said in his interview with Erin Andrews:
Andrews: The final play, take me through it.
Sherman: Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that is the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me!
Andrews: Who was talking about you?
Sherman: Crabtree! Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick!
A little context for you. This was a big game– last step before the Super Bowl. And Crabtree, wide receiver for the 49ers, knew that he was likely to be up against cornerback Richard Sherman and he talked some crap… a lot of crap… in the days leading up to the game. And yet in the final seconds of a seriously brutal competition, Richard Sherman knocked a touchdown pass out of the air before it made it to Crabtree’s hands, preventing the touchdown, and winning the game. He punched his team’s ticket to the Super Bowl. It’s no wonder he was absolutely ON FIRE in those immediate moments after… I can get that.
And then what Henry Durie, Scottish nobility, says nearly 270 years earlier in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae in response to what amounts to trash talk written by his (jerk) brother:
“What do you think of that Mackeller,” says he, “from an only brother? I declare to God I liked him very well; I was always staunch to him; and this is how he writes! But I will not sit down under the imputation”– walking to and fro– “I am as good as he; I am a better man than he, I call on God to prove it!… I shall stuff this bloodsucker.”
Considering the vernacular of 1700s Scotland and that of the National Football League circa 2014, I’d say these two speeches are pretty much identical.
History does repeat itself, doesn’t it?
Both Richard Sherman and Henry Durie were mad– and with good reason! Their good names had been dragged through the mud by people who by all accounts should have had respect for them and they were tired of it. Given the opportunity to reclaim their good name, they did so! Vehemently!
So whether it was a literary throwback or just a well-deserved chance to publicly “stuff” (as Henry Durie would say) the man who spent so time trash talking him before the game, I’d say Richard Sherman was completely justified.
Regardless, it was a LOT more fun to watch than the typical “We just went out there and played our best and scored more point than the other guys” crap that most players bore us with after the game.
More Richard Sherman! More literature! Less milk toast!
PS: I just looked up milk toast… I knew it was supposed to be bland and boring, but I honestly had no idea what it was. Sounds pretty much like I expected– bland and boring…
…and kind of DELICIOUS! I’m thinking some milk toast (with lots of lactaid) may be on the menu this weekend! (At least French toast!)
6 thoughts on “Richard Sherman’s Literary Throwback”
I like the literary connection to Sherman! You never know! What I loved most about the interaction with the reporter was her reaction, which in my head was said in a teenage popular girl’s voice: “Um…. who is talking about you??”
I know! That cracked me up– she seemed so AWKWARD in that interview, it was hilarious!
Rachel you are hilarious….. I hate that his comments brought a lot of negative attention to the Seahawks, but he certainly did a lot this week to negate that….and Im starting the RLS book next week!
Negative attention, true. But also a lot of interesting conversation and positive defense. Not to mention a great blog topic 🙂
Good post Rachel. In his interviews in days following last Sunday, I like the conversation he started, saying the use of the word “thug” that is being used to describe him after that interview is the polite way of using the “n”-word.
Agreed! And you might be particularly interested to know that the word that truly set Henry Durie off in his brother’s letter was actually “niggardly”… that’s what actually triggered my thinking down this path. So many parallels.