ESPN columnist Jason Whitlock thinks commentators should shy away from alleging the treatment of Richard Sherman has been racist. The Seattle Seahawks cornerback gained widespread backlash for boisterous comments following the team’s victory on Sunday, prompting a number of commentators to the criticism racially motivated. Sherman himself said calling someone a “thug” has become the “accepted way of calling somebody the n-word nowadays” in an press conference earlier this week.
But Whitlock called the effort to read race into the controversy “offensive” and called those doing so “completely dishonest.” People might well view Sherman as being “a thug” in the interview, Whitlock said, not because of his race but because he looked “predatory.” “I’m not going to let someone paint all of these people that use a derogatory word as somehow they’re flaming racists,” he said.
“A thug is someone who is a predator and takes advantage and disrespects his opponent, and does anything it takes to win,” he said on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption on Thursday. That’s more or less necessary for an NFL player, he said. Nonetheless, Sherman’s interview “was not some classy thing” or “something that put him in a good light,” Whitlock admitted.