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SMM professor Annemarie Farrell discusses Richard Sherman with Sports Illustrated

It took Seattle Seahawks defensive Richard Sherman roughly 25 seconds to change the focus of the NFC championship from his game-saving deflected pass against the San Francisco 49ers to a much deeper discussion about heroes and villains in sport and perceptions of race in America.

In an interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews immediately following the game, Sherman ranted about his matchup with 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who pushed Sherman in the face immediately after the game's deciding play.

“Well, I’m the best corner in the game,” Sherman told Andrews. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”

Ithaca College Sport Management and Media professor and expert on fan behavior Annemarie Farrell was asked about Sherman’s post game interview for SportsIllustrated.com writer Peter King’s On Further Review article. Farrell discussed the virality of the story and why America has become so fascinated with the interview.

“I think this story has really caught on because everyone loves a villain,’’ Farrell said in the article. "There’s not a ton of villains on either of these teams that people can talk about. We can’t all talk about Peyton Manning every day all the time. That’s boring. Sherman, on the other hand, put himself out there, and America really latched on. That’s why it became a bigger story than the game.”

Farrell went on to point out how racial stereotypes may have affected the public’s response, which was largely negative on social media outlets like Twitter.

“There’s a lot of different storylines with Richard and reasons for why this blew up, but I think a really important one here is race,” Farrell said. “This seethes into this narrative of race in America and race logic. Think about who Richard Sherman is. He’s a kid from Compton who graduated second in his class and went to Stanford to earn a degree in Communications. He’s at a critical point in his football career, makes a huge play, then a reporter sticks a mike in his face. What does he do? He not only speaks, he shouts. And now you have an angry, almost violent black man, in a very passionate moment, yelling on national television.’’

To read the full article, click here.




Originally published in School of Health Sciences and Human Performance: SMM professor Annemarie Farrell discusses Richard Sherman with Sports Illustrated.


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