Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman was somewhat unwittingly the subject of controversy over the weekend when his name and face were attached to a post about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sherman began his weekly Wednesday meeting with the media today by addressing the article and also speaking passionately about the need to celebrate diversity and humanity.
Sherman began by noting he did not write the article, and said in part:
“A lot of people had sent (the article) to me over the weekend, but I thought this would be the best place to address it. There were some points in that article, or in that post, that were relevant and I could agree with. But there were also some obviously ignorant points in there. I don’t think any time’s a time to call out for an all-out war against police or any race of people. I thought that was an ignorant statement. But as a black man, I do understand that black lives matter. You know, I stand for that, I believe in that wholeheartedly.
“… I also think that there’s a way to go about things, and there’s a way to do things. And I think the issue at hand needs to be addressed internally, and before we move on, because from personal experience, you know, you are living in the hood, living in the inner city, you deal with things, you deal with people dying. Dealt with a best friend getting killed … it was two 35-year-old black men. Wasn’t no police officer involved, wasn’t anybody else involved, and I didn’t hear anybody shouting ‘black lives matter’ then. And I think that’s the point we need to get to is that we need to deal with our own internal issues before we move forward and start pointing fingers and start attacking other people. We need to solidify ourselves as people and deal with our issues, because I think as long as we have black-on-black crime and, you know, one black man killing another. If Black Lives Matter, then it should matter all the time. You should never let somebody get killed — that’s somebody’s son, that’s somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s friend. So you should always keep that in mind.
… there’s a lot of dealings with police officers right now. I don’t think all cops are bad. You know, I think there’s some great cops out there, who do everything in their power to uphold the badge and uphold the honor and protect the people in society. But there are bad cops, and I think that also needs to be addressed. I think the police officers we have right now —you know, some of it is being brought to light, because of video cameras, everybody has a camera phone. But these are things a lot of us have dealt with our whole lives. And I think right now is a perfect time to deal with it. The climate we’re in … everybody’s being more accepting, you know, so I think the ignorance should stop. I think people realize that, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings. So, you know, before we’re black, white, Asian, Polynesian, Latino — we’re humans. So, it’s up to us to stop it.”
Once he was done with his statement, Sherman took questions and said he was glad he has a platform to speak about such issues and isn’t worried about ruffling a few feathers along the way.
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“Because I’m not scared to be judged,” he said. “I’m not afraid to be criticized. I’m okay with who I am, I’m okay with being human, with being a person and understanding that I do somethings great, and I make mistakes. I’m okay with that decision. I’m okay with people judging who I am and publicizing my character, and trying to attack me. I’m perfectly fine with that. I think some people are afraid to deal with that, because you deal with a lot of things when you put yourself out there in that way. Whether it’s on the field or off the field you have to deal with the good and the bad that comes with being in the spotlight, and I think that some people don’t want to have to deal with that.”
He also said he wishes a few more athletes would speak up similarly.
“I think if we did have more guys that spoke up on things like that, I think we’d be in a better place as a society and as a culture,” he said. “Especially in a positive light, trying to encourage these kids to stay out of the streets, stay out of gang violence, stay off these drugs, and stay in school and do your best to come up with the next great idea, be the next entrepreneur instead of some of the goals these kids have in inner cities. I know from personal experience that they don’t have the best influences, they don’t have the best idols, a lot of times, they don’t have the best parents in the household. It’s circumstantial.”