Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has apologized for going OFF on rival Michael Crabtree after his NFL team clinched the NFC title Sunday.
Sherman boasted of being pro football's best corner and called Crabtree a “sorry receiver” in a brief but comically intense chat with Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews:
Only moments before Richard Sherman's rant, he had made a game-saving play against Crabtree, sealing a dramatic victory and Seattle's trip to the Super Bowl.
Sherman, a communications major from Stanford, says he's sorry - not for bashing his opponent, but for the distraction he caused in the wake of the win.
“Obviously I could have worded things better and could obviously have had a better reaction and done things differently,” he said in an interview on ESPN Radio.
“But it is what it is now, and people’s reactions are what they are.”
He also told ESPN: “I apologize for attacking an individual and taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates … That was not my intent.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said, “He was really clear that the last thing he wanted to do was take something away from our team, what we had accomplished."
The son of a social worker and garbage-truck driver in Compton, Calif., he was a straight-A student who played for 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.
Current Stanford coach David Shaw, part of Harbaugh's staff and a friend of Sherman’s, knows about the Seahawks player’s kind side, and his drive.
“Richard was the first to raise his hand [to volunteer for community events. He was there at the beginning [of an event for people with Down syndrome]," Shaw said.
"He stayed past the end. He is the farthest thing from a thug you can imagine. Thugs don’t volunteer to help out at Special Olympics when they’re in high school."
"But the flip side is a guy who’s ultracompetitive. You put him in that environment, where the game is very personal, and when the gauntlet’s thrown down, he’s ready.”
The problem on Sunday night, his defenders say, was Crabtree.
The two men just don’t like each other, with bad blood brimming over during a charity event with Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals last summer.
“He said something personal face-to-face,” Sherman said. “He knows what he said, and now he knows I’m going to be tough on him the rest of his career.”
After tipping away the pass intended for Crabtree into the hands of teaamate Malcolm Smith and clinching Sunday's win, Sherman ran up to Crabtree.
He patted him on the butt and appeared to extend his hand for a handshake, but Crabtree shoved him in the face. Sherman went on to make a choke sign.
Sherman realized that his conduct had been poorly received and wrote that “it was loud, it was in the moment, but it was just a small part of who I am.”