Richard Sherman: 'Thug' Just an Accepted Version of N-Word

Seattle Seahawks cornerback responds to interview controversy

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 23, 2014 10:32 AM CST

(Newser) – Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman found himself the center of a storm of controversy after he gave a loud, emotional post-game interview/rant moments after his team beat the 49ers to make it to the Super Bowl. Many critics responded by calling Sherman a "thug" (the term was used an incredible 625 times on TV Monday, according to Deadspin)—and at a press conference yesterday, Sherman explained why that's not cool, the Huffington Post reports. "The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays," he said. "It's like everyone else said the N-word, and they said 'thug' and they're like, 'Ah, that's fine.' That's where it kind of takes me aback and it's kind of disappointing."

"What's the definition of a thug really?" Sherman continued. "Maybe I'm talking loudly and doing something I'm not supposed to. But I'm not ... there was a hockey game where they didn't even play hockey. They just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and said, 'Oh, man. I'm the thug? What's going on here?'" Sherman grew up in Compton and graduated from Stanford. "I know some 'thugs,' and they know I'm the furthest thing from a thug," he said. "I've fought that my whole life, just coming from where I'm coming from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that, you just think, 'Thug, he's a gangster, he's this, that, and the other,' and then you hear Stanford, and they're like, 'Oh man, that doesn't even make sense, that's an oxymoron.' You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it's really frustrating."

Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman smiles as he waits in the back of an interview room for his turn to speak at an NFL football news conference Jan. 22.
Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman smiles as he waits in the back of an interview room for his turn to speak at an NFL football news conference Jan. 22.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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