Former Seahawks star Richard Sherman pleaded not guilty Friday to five misdemeanors in a Seattle courtroom and asked fans for understanding in a social media statement, acknowledging he’s been struggling with mental health recently.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Friday morning filed the charges, including driving under the influence, resisting arrest and two domestic violence-related counts. Sherman appeared in Seattle District Court hours later accompanied by his attorney and his wife, Ashley Moss-Sherman.
District Judge Lisa Paglisotti released him on his own recognizance with restrictions on driving, drug use and weapons possession. She ordered Sherman to appear for a pretrial hearing Aug. 13 in Redmond District Court.
The case has serious implications for Sherman’s professional future. The former Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers cornerback is a free agent and his conduct is governed by the NFL’s rules. He could face a suspension from multiple games, hampering his efforts to sign with a team.
His acknowledgment of the importance of mental health reflects recent public discussions over the mental health of athletes and celebrities that started with tennis star Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open last month.
“The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need,” Sherman said in a statement on Twitter.
Sherman was polite and friendly in court and introduced himself to King County supervising deputy prosecutor Jocelyn McCurtain with a “nice to meet you.” Following the brief hearing, Sherman left the courtroom hand-in-hand with his wife, and he repeatedly and politely declined to answer questions about the incident that led to his arrest. He responded to questions with praise for his supporters and fans.
Also among the conditions Paglisotti imposed on Sherman in order for him to remain free on his own recognizance are staying away from two Washington State Department of Transportation workers who identified him to law enforcement, and to only have cordial and necessary contact with his father-in-law, who pepper-sprayed Sherman the night of his arrest.
The judge lifted a no-contact order that was issued when he was arrested.
Sherman, 33, of Maple Valley, was arrested early Wednesday after crashing into a highway construction site and then attempting to break into his in-laws’ Redmond home. A judge on Thursday ordered him released.
According to probable cause statements released Thursday, Sherman fought with police officers, who used a police dog to get Sherman into custody. The Washington State Patrol said Sherman was under investigation for driving while intoxicated, crashing into a barrier on Highway 520 and leaving the scene. His badly damaged car was found abandoned in a parking lot, says a probable cause statement written by a State Patrol sergeant.
Sherman, in his statement on Friday, said, “I am deeply remorseful for my actions Tuesday night. I behaved in a manner I am not proud of.” He wrote that he has been “dealing with some personal challenges over the last several months, but that is not an excuse for how I acted.
“The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need.”
Sherman thanked his supporters and said he is grateful “to have such an amazing wife, family and support system to lean on during this time.”
Sherman was charged with criminal trespass in the second degree with a domestic- violence element, reckless endangerment of roadway crews, driving under the influence, resisting arrest and malicious mischief with a domestic-violence element.
The DUI and reckless endangerment charges are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. The other charges are simple misdemeanors, which carry a maximum possible 90-day jail term, prosecutor’s office spokesperson Casey McNerthney said.
Charging documents indicate Sherman was intoxicated, distraught and alternately cordial and combative with officers outside his in-laws’ home in Redmond early Wednesday when he was arrested.
He refused to be taken into custody and promised police it would be a “long day” for the officers who tried to arrest him, according to reports attached to the charges. There were “multiple officers on the scene with less-lethal options,” and a police dog, to take the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Sherman into custody, according to reports. Sherman suffered a dog bite on the ankle and was treated at a hospital before he was booked into the King County Jail.
The reports indicate Sherman had been pepper-sprayed before police arrived and may have been shot with a less-than-lethal bean-bag shotgun during the scuffle with officers.
Trooper Jack Arata wrote in his report that Sherman charged at him and he tackled the NFL star, using a “double-leg takedown” so other officers could get him in handcuffs. According to Arata’s report, after Sherman was in custody, “his mood seemed to lighten and he even joked around with us about the merits of my takedown form and eventually admitted it wasn’t bad.”
The incident began about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when construction workers reported a black Mercedes-Benz had driven into their work area on Highway 520. The workers called 911 and said the driver appeared intoxicated. Two witnesses wrote in their sworn statements — before knowing the identity of the driver — that the driver looked remarkably like Sherman. The man drove off, his car damaged and one tire flat, according to witnesses.
It appears that Sherman may have walked 2 miles from where he had abandoned his damaged car at a Redmond Arby’s to reach his in-laws’ house, according to the court documents.
According to the charges, Sherman and his wife had a dispute earlier at their home in Maple Valley, and she drove with their children to stay at her father’s house in Redmond. When Sherman arrived at the home of Raymond Moss, according to the reports, he was intoxicated and not welcome.
The charges allege that Sherman tried to force his way into the home and that Raymond Moss pepper-sprayed him through the partially opened door. When police arrived, Sherman was using his shirt to try to wipe the irritant from his eyes, according to the reports.
A King County sheriff’s report included with the charging documents states that Maple Valley deputies had reported Sherman as a possible suicide risk earlier in the evening.
Moss-Sherman wrote in an email provided by her attorney Thursday: “I love and support my husband. I am committed to helping Richard get the support and care that he needs. Richard has always been a loving father and husband. And we are looking forward to seeing him at home with his family.”
Sherman has no criminal history.