Richard Sherman and Stanford: Why it Shouldn’t Matter

Richard Sherman’s interview with Erin Andrews brought the haters out of the woodwork. Thankfully, some people chose to defend him. The problem with some of the defense, however, is that it’s just as shortsighted as all of the offense.

How many times do we have to hear that Richard Sherman went to Stanford? Or that he got good grades and nailed his SATs?

Excusing Sherman’s “actions” based on his academic degree – while thankfully not malicious in any way – is still narrow minded. I didn’t see Bill Gates (a Seattle native) all pumped up on national television. Is that because Bill Gates went to Harvard for two years? Or is it because he dropped out?

Sherman’s SAT scores don’t matter much either because it’s the same as name dropping an alma mater. I certainly wouldn’t want people rushing to defend my personality with a number that determined how well I took some outdated and extremely flawed ‘aptitude’ test. There’s also this idea that school isn’t the bees knees either. So why judge someone by their grades?

I care about the people that know Richard Sherman. I care that his coach, other teams’ coaches and reporters who cover the Seahawks respect him. I care that he apologized (even though he didn’t have to). I care about his actions. Richard Sherman, by all accounts, seems like a good guy who yelled loudly and passionately on national TV after a crazy game in a crazier sport.

If you disagree, fine. You’re entitled to that. Just know our ability to hate people for any reason we see fit is becoming destructively obnoxious at this point.

But for everyone rushing to his defense, stop using Stanford and his grades as an escape clause. Defending gray areas with even grayer matter isn’t helping. Saying Richard Sherman is a good person (and not a thug) solely because he attended Stanford and got good grades is unfair to Richard Sherman and to everyone else.

Where you attend college (and how well you did on a bunch of obsolete tests) should never factor into the equation when it comes to holding people accountable for their actions. Academic absolution only works for a select group of people. Besides, if you haven’t noticed, it isn’t working in Sherman’s case anyway.

There are probably many different shades to Richard Sherman and his academic degree is a very small part of who he is. I’m sure he’s proud of those other parts. I say that not because I know who Richard Sherman is (or what Stanford is like) but because he’s a human being and I’m a human being and we most likely share the infinite complexities of human existence.