|© Getty Images TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.|
Richard Sherman’s relationship with the media might be heading toward a breaking point. A little more than a week after threatening to “ruin” a radio host’s career, the Seattle Seahawks’ Pro Bowl cornerback canceled his weekly news conference Wednesday.
"I'm just going to make sure people -- it's a privilege to have me up there," Sherman told reporters at his locker, via ESPN. "You're going to miss me when I'm gone."
This is the latest episode in Sherman’s deteriorating rapport with the press. Last week, Sherman told Jim Moore of 710 ESPN that he could “ruin [his] career” after Moore had asked Sherman about his sideline shouting match with coaches during the Seahawks’ Week 15 win over the Rams.
When Moore asked Sherman how he would end the reporter’s career, Sherman said, “I’ll make sure you don’t get your media pass anymore.” Later that night, Sherman expressed his appreciation for the media in a tweet, but fell short of apologizing.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said last week that he was expecting Sherman to apologize at his news conference, but Sherman said he didn’t regret the incident.
When asked Wednesday if Carroll, who said the team would handle the incident internally, had punished him, Sherman was on the defensive.
"Did you see me get punished?" he said. "Did you ask the coach? What'd he say?"
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman decides to take a break from the ‘privilege’ of holding press conferences
Every Wednesday this season, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has followed coach Pete Carroll to the podium in the auditorium at the team’s training facility in Renton to hold his weekly press conference.
But this Wednesday, Sherman declined to take the stage, instead deciding to talk to reporters only in a smaller group near his locker.
Sherman said it was his decision, telling reporters “it’s a privilege to have me up there. Going to miss me when I’m gone.’’
Sherman had a smile on his face as he spoke and it was difficult to tell how serious he was with his comment.
But the timing of his decision — coming a week after Sherman’s press conference grew contentious near the end when he took exception to a question from ESPN 710 Seattle talk show host Jim Moore, and then said as he walked past Moore at its conclusion that he would “ruin’’ Moore’s career by having his media credentials revoked — was telling.
Sherman later took to Twitter to express regret for the post-press conference statements to Moore.
Sherman didn’t specifically say that the events of last week led to his decision to forgo talking on the podium, and also said he didn’t know if he would resume his regular, bigger press conferences, something he has held essentially every week the last three years. Such podium sessions are not required — NFL rules stipulate only that players talk to the media once during the week and after games. But podium pressers are usually reserved for the biggest-name players — the only player who have held one every week for the past three years are Sherman and Russell Wilson — and Sherman has typically embraced them, using them at times to state well-rehearsed grievances with the NFL and other entities, and other times simply using them to entertain or help create his image (such as the time this year when he dressed up as Harry Potter prior to Halloween).
“I’ll think about it,’’ he said when asked if he thought he’d resume podium sessions. “This is a privilege for me to go up there. Not everybody appreciates it like you do (Moore was not part of the group of reporters who spoke to Sherman Wednesday).’’
Sherman also evaded specifics about the events of last week, which began when he went into an on-field tirade in the third quarter of a win over the Rams on Dec. 15, upset with a play call to pass from the 1-yard-line. The pass initially appeared to be intercepted.
Sherman met with coach Pete Carroll the next day, and Carroll implied that Sherman would apologize when he next met the media. But when Sherman held his press conference last week he said he did not regret his actions or his statements following the game saying he had a right to question offensive playcalling.
Carroll then said he was surprised that Sherman hadn’t shown more contrition in his press conference. Carroll also said then that any punishment of Sherman had already been handled internally and Sherman’s role in Saturday’s 34-31 loss to Arizona was the same as always.
Asked Wednesday if he had been punished, Sherman responded: “Did you see me get punished? Okay. Did you ask the coach?’’
When a reporter said he had, Sherman said “what did he say?”
When the reporter said Carroll had said punishment had been handled internally, Sherman responded: “So okay, cool. Cool.’’
Asked if he had any regrets about the events of the last week, Sherman said “they already asked me that question (apparently a reference to his press conference a week ago) so it’s already answered. You got the answer to that one right? Cool.’’
Carroll said Monday that he held what he called a “special’’ team meeting last week to address a few different issues, including the Sherman situation.
“That was just part of why we met,” Carroll said. “That was one issue that we brought up and there was some other stuff just moving forward. Trying to make sure that we keep bringing the young guys along and there are a lot of young guys on this team and as we’re going down the stretch here, we need to help them understand what’s expected and how they should deal with what appears to be the mounting issues as you get to the end of the season.”
Sherman characterized the meeting as no different than those he said have been held at some point every year that he has been a member of the Seahawks.
“Just talked about the mood of the team and guys coming together,’’ Sherman said. “We have a kumbuya meeting just about every year so it was the same theme of it. … it happens every year at different times.’’
Sherman said this meeting, like the others, was initiated by Carroll.
“It’s always Pete,’’ he said. “Always Pete. We always go into the kumbuya room and sit there and kumbuya.’’
Sherman said he felt the meeting fulfilled its intended goal.
“They are effective,’’ he said. “Just a different element for some guys. Older guys, we kind of see it every year. The younger guys, kind of give them something different.’’
Asked where he thinks the team is at the moment in terms of the locker room, Sherman said “same place we always are. Ready for the next game. Put on a show.’’
Then he was alternately reminded by a team staffer that practice was close to starting while asked if it was worrisome that the team lost in its first game following such a meeting.
“Not concerned at all,’’ he said. “We are in the playoffs. We’ve got a chance to do everything we want to do. It’s all good.’’
And with that, Sherman thanked the media and headed out to practice.
Richard Sherman declines to hold his weekly press conference
When Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman expressed regret for threatening to ruin a reporter’s career following his Week 16 midweek press conference, Sherman said that his “[n]ext one should be fun.”
It was zero fun, sir.
Sherman refused to conduct a press conference on Wednesday. Via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com, Sherman explained his decision while talking to reporters from his locker.
“[I]t’s a privilege to have me up there,” Sherman said. “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”
Reasonable minds may differ on that one. As to whether Sherman talking to reporters is a privilege, he’s incorrect. Making himself available to reporters is an obligation that goes along with the privilege of playing professional football.
He’s not required to appear at the podium every week. He can comply with the league’s media policy by answering questions once during the week in the locker room, and again after each game. As former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch proved, the responses don’t even have to be responsive.
The league only will fine players if there is a failure to appear. For Wednesday, Sherman arguably complied by explaining to reporters from his locker why he wasn’t conducting a session from the podium. He also addressed whether he was punished for last week’s behavior.
“Did you see me get punished?” Sherman said. “Did you ask the coach? What’d he say?”
Carroll said last week that the situation was handled internally. In the future, Sherman’s situation will be handled externally, and publicly, if he refuses to answer questions from reporters.