Last week, Richard Sherman dressed up as Harry Potter for his regular weekly press conference.
Thursday, Sherman was wearing NFL-issued camo clothing as part of the league’s “Salute to Service’’ celebration.
Sherman, though, spent most of his 15-minute press conference attacking the NFL, saying it’s to blame for declining TV ratings for taking the fun out of things, ripping officiating and saying of commissioner Roger Goodell that “saying he hasn’t done a great job is beating a dead horse.’’
It was simply the latest in a long line of increasingly candid critiques at the NFL, which came on the heels of his post-game comments Sunday ripping the officiating in a 25-20 loss to the Saints when he said the league “makes sure they keep an impact and control’’ of the games.
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Sherman, though, said he has not heard from the league for his Sunday comments. “Nothing in terms of fines or anything,’’ he said in answer to the first question that came his way Thursday.
And from there, he let it rip.
Here’s a sampling:
— On why he thinks he’s never been fined for what he’s said about the league: “Sometimes the truth is the truth is the truth. It is what it is. This is basically reality TV, so I guess I’m good for ratings, probably.’’
— On being told by a ref during Sunday’s game that they are doing the best they can: “That was his answer (doing the best we can) and I responded by saying ‘we’re doing the best we can, too, but you guys are kind of not giving us a chance.’ But it’s funny when it’s obvious like it was on Sunday. It’s real funny to us, we have a good time with it. The fans can finally see it. Sometimes it’s incidental, it’s small, it’s deceptive, most people can’t catch it. But this game it was so obvious, one of the worst-penalized teams in the league doesn’t get a penalty other than a obvious false start that they didn’t want to call.’’
— On if it’s the commissioner’s office talking to refs that leads to more penalties on Seahawks: “I have no idea. They are real connected to the New York office nowadays, aren’t they? So I’m sure that’s fun. But it is what it is. We just go out there and play. They are going to come back and they are going to apologize the next day — we probably lead the league in NFL apologies.’’
— On if he thinks the league is out to get the Seahawks: “I mean the numbers speak for themselves, they always spoken for themselves and I heard you ask Pete [Carroll] about is it just our aggressive style of play but we’re always at the bottom of league in defensive holding or illegal contact or PI, we’re usually one of the least penalized in that regard. But we’re still one of the highest penalized teams and our opponents aren’t penalized at all. It’s just funny and you just go out there and keep playing. I’m sure someway the league has a way to even out. We have a really good team so I guess you’ve got to do something.”
— On why TV ratings are down: “Because the league isn’t fun anymore. Every other league, you see the players have a good time. It’s a game. This isn’t politics. This isn’t justice. This is entertainment. And they’re no longer allowing the players to entertain. They’re no longer allowing the players to show any kind of personality, any kind of uniqueness, any individuality. Because they want to control the product. They want to control the messaging, etc., etc. … They say we’re trying to influence kids, and that’s their biggest thing. That’s their biggest ploy is you don’t want to be a bad influence to kids. You don’t want to be a bad role model. And I can agree with that. But in the same breath, you can’t say Budweiser is the official sponsor of the NFL, and we’re trying to influence kids. So there’s a ton of hypocrisy, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t control it.”
— On how to improve officiating: “Make the rule book a lot less extensive. You’ve got a bunch of freaking rocket scientists writing rules for a simple game. Like I’ve always said they always say they ask players and coaches about rules and rules changes but they really don’t take what they say into account, obviously, because the game is entirely too difficult to officiate to be written by coaches and players, to be influenced by coaches and players. This game would be a lot more simplified by the refs. Obvious calls would have to be made, if it affects the play it would have to be made. Earl Thomas got called for illegal contact on a play where he pretty much ran the route for the receiver and then you don’t get called when the receiver just blocks a dude in the end zone to the ground on a pass play. You’ve got to simplify it and give them less things to watch because it’s hard for them to ever protect the defensive player.’’
— On the league saying many rules are put in place for player safety: “I don’t buy it. That’s for public perception. I’ve said that several times. But they do care about paying the quarterback $20 million and him missing a season. They do care about that. So whether they say player safety or whatever it is, they’re tired of $20 million quarterbacks sitting on the bench or IR for the whole season, so they’re going to do whatever they can to protect their investments, and that’s universal.”
— On how he would rewrite the pass interference rule: “I’d even it out. I’d take illegal contact out or I’d call it both ways. If we can’t touch them past five yards, then they can’t initiate contact with us past five yards. But then it kind of sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Just as illegal contact is a ridiculous rule and impossible to officiate they can literally run into you at any point on the field and get that call. All you have to do is initiate contact, 4th and 55 and you got a first down. It makes it difficult to play defense because now they know the rules, they can manipulate the rules and the refs see what they think they see.”