Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Twas Grace That Taught...

Yesterday I shared an article (written by someone else) on my Facebook page about Richard Sherman, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. If you're just returning from the moon and somehow missed it, what happened was, immediately following the NFC Championship game he gave an on-field interview that quickly escalated to status: infamous. The interview lasted 25 seconds, but whether or not he will ever live it down remains to be seen. 

Shortly after that interview, he went on to give a 12 minute post-game press conference where he conducted himself with an air of formality and respect - even thanking the fans of the 49ers and praising Peyton Manning. Then some hours later he penned an extremely well-written article (I can only hope to EVER write so eloquently), addressing the incident as being "...loud, in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am." In the article he also expressed disappointment at hearing about the Seahawks fans who allegedly threw food at an injured San Francisco player as he was carried off the field saying, "If it's true, it's beyond terrible. That's as low as it gets...all players deserve better than that."

The intention of my Facebook post was not to start a heated debate on whether or not Sherman's behavior was appropriate because clearly it was not. The intention was to say, "Hey! Look at what this guy has done. He beat the odds. According to statistics, because of where he was raised he had a better chance of joining a gang and being involved in drugs than he had of leading a successful life. And not only successful, but a college graduate, a professional football player, and a philanthropist. Yay, him!" 

But, instead, it quickly turned into a character assassination. 

To say he was intense or worked-up would be an understatement. He was loud - VERY loud - and made some undeniably arrogant comments. But he didn't curse and he didn't say anything vulgar and he didn't strut around grabbing his crotch. Not that an absence of those things excuses him for what he did do, but let's consider the crime when delivering the punishment why don't we? 

People left comments on that post suggesting he erased all of the accomplishments he has achieved throughout his life with that one interview, generalizing that he had no brains, no class...practically crucifying him based on those few brief moments. Ouch.

I am not now, nor did I at any point in my post, defend his behavior during that on-field interview. I thought and still think it was obnoxious and unnecessary. But to let that single action define the entirety of his character seems a bit harsh. 

I take pause to think about the hot water I would be in should I have a television crew waiting around to capture my heat-of-the-moment reactions on film for all the world to scrutinize. Yikes. 
Note to self: Don't get famous.

One of the most memorable sermons I ever had the privilege of hearing was about 6 months ago. It was delivered on the topic of grace. 

By definition grace means to forgive, to grant mercy, to give favor or goodwill. 

During that sermon, the pastor discussed how hard a concept grace is for us to truly understand, because to understand it is to be able to not only receive it without burden, but to offer it to others in the same respect. The former we are willing to take hold of; the, not so much. 

I know I have, and will continue to need my fair share of grace throughout this lifetime. Both from God, and from my fellow man. How can I in good conscious accept it from others if I'm not willing to extend it all the same? 

Even when it's to football players who give objectionable, over-the-top  interviews. 


  1. Since I only half-watched the game while doing other stuff, I have no idea what he said in the interview, and honestly, I think most athletes should probably just nod and smile, and give the worn-out "I did my best" answer no matter WHAT the question is.

    On a totally unrelated note, I gave one the 'restoring faith in humanity' cards out over the weekend. I've given out others, but this one sort of cracked me up. The recipient was initially flabbergasted, then thought I must be the member of a religious cult (she didn't say as much, but people handing things out in parking lots in Utah are frequently viewed with suspicion) and then finally a smile as she read the card. Hopefully she'll pass it on. :-)

    -Dr. Liz, and not Fiona the dog, who also has no idea what was said during the football game.

  2. Thank you for writing this! Arrogance rubs me the wrong way, so I was immediately annoyed when I heard Sherman's interview. But as my husband and I talked about it the next day I got to really thinking about it. This guy just won one of the biggest games of his career and he played a key role in that victory. I talk smack when I make a good lasagna--I think this guy can talk himself up a little bit since he is in fact one of the best in the game. : )

  3. This would never happen in Canada.
    Great post, lady.

  4. You know how I feel about all of this. I love Sherman, and I love you. I'm all for living a graceful life, and try hard to do so. I fail constantly.

    1. I didn't know a thing about Sherman before his outburst. (I'm a Steelers fan!) But the minute I saw him popping off at the camera, I dismissed him as a cocky big-mouth whose fame had gone straight to his head. It wasn't until I read the article that Amy posted on her FB page that I started to think differently. What if I had a camera crew in my house at the very second I lost my shit on my kids? Different scenario, but still the heat of the moment: I would look like a LUNATIC. But Sherman's words ring true: it's only a small part of who I am. And his on-field interview was only a small part of who he is. Reason #234 why you ladies rock: you give me a different perspective and make me think more gracefully. Gracias.

  5. There was a ballgame?

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  6. You are super cool and I love how you push me to be responsible for the way I make other people feel! Also, you're hilarious.

    Keep it comin, sister! :-)
    -Kristen K

  7. I find that I'd rather read Richard Sherman's writings about football than watch a game. good mini-sermon on grace.

  8. I love this post. Thank you. I too saw everything you just discussed & I think you hitthe nail on the head. Thanks.

  9. While I was present in the room, I wasn't really paying attention. I never quite understood why they chase down players in sports during emotional situations.

    I'm the queen of blurting out strange things at the wrong time-so yeah, I can't ever be famous either.


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