There is a widely held convention that the quotable Richard Sherman is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent of NFL players. Yes, he talks trash. But he backs it up on the field. Moreover, he does not speak ebonics and demonstrates moments of coherence. And since he carries a degree from Stanford, one assumes his intelligence.
Well, I suppose that it depends on what intelligence means. Every day we see graduates of highly-rated schools making absurd statements and we see their programs and predictions proven demonstrably wrong. Professor Jonathon Gruber of MIT comes to mind. And when I look at the actual contents of what Sherman said in his now viral parody of the NFL, it strikes me that we have another graduate of an acclaimed academic institution spouting total nonsense while epically failing in his analogies–which all strike as non sequiturs.
Not that anyone on ESPN’s anchor desk could figure this out. They haven’t.
In case you missed it, Sherman went to the podium yesterday with a cardboard cutout of teammate Doug Baldwin, who was crouched down out of sight for this comedy routine. They were attempting to call out the NFL for what they view as hypocritical policies–inspired by the league’s $100,000 fine of teammate Marshawn Lynch. Sherman no doubt thought he was scoring points, and making sense. He was not.
“Marshawn Lynch got fined $100,000,” began Sherman, referring to Lynch’s refusal to speak to the press after the game before their last. “Did you know that? They wouldn’t have paid him $100,000 if he had talked,” he added self righteously.
Uh, Mr. Sherman, I hate to break it to you–but Lynch is paid to speak. It is part of his contract. It is part of your union’s agreement with the league. Players are to be available to the press after games. If you don’t like it, complain to the union. It will keep you from looking foolish.
Sherman continued his march into ignorance: “Geez, Louise. But you know who pays me a lot of money? Beats by Dre, the wonderful headphones I wear. But the league doesn’t let me say anything about them. Doug, why is that?”
Probably Richard because the league knows, as does everyone who knows anything about economics, that Beats by Dre wouldn’t pay you diddly squat if you didn’t play in the league. The same goes for every single player endorsement in NFL history. You think your Stanford degree got you that endorsement? No. The exposure and the popularity that the NFL has had far longer than you’ve had your dreads got you that endorsement.
Sherman continued his absurdities however, tweaking the league by giving mentions to his sponsors, adding, “It’s crazy. In the offseason you get to wear Neff beanies, you get to eat Campbell’s soup.” Now correct me if I’m wrong Richard, but I think it’s okay for you to wear beanies and eat soup during the season too. I’m not sure what point you thought you were making here–but whatever it was–you failed to deliver.
But wait. It gets worse. If you think Sherman’s abject economic “stupidity” (apologies to Professor Gruber) was the worst part of his satire, you would be wrong. As ESPN.com reports, Sherman already benefits from the leagues sponsors–as his Campbell’s Soup deal is not only the result of the fact that he’s a player in a high profile league–it comes as a result of the league’s long standing agreement with Campbell’s. In other words, the big, bad, hypocritical NFL actively and specifically steers big money from Campbell’s to Sherman’s wallet.
In fact, Sherman ironically gets a piece of money from Bose headphones–a direct competitor to his Beats by Dre product–simply because Bose pays the league big money. The NFL is the precise reason Richard Sherman is relevant to anyone besides his girlfriend and his mama. Moreover, it has set up a system to enrich players above and beyond their player contracts–even to the point of making money off competing products.
To be sure, the NFL is a big fat public relations target for any number of reasons. It’s simply infantile, however, for a twentysomething direct beneficiary of the league’s excellence over many decades to feel license to perform such a display. Besides flunking economics, Sherman’s skit also failed logic as well.