Thanks to John McCain, Richard Sherman suddenly finds himself in good company

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Richard Sherman has taken a lot of flak for his post-game interview with Erin Andrews. But with the conversation beginning to shift from “class” (specifically, lack thereof) to “race” (specifically, ism thereof), and with the revelation that Erin Andrews couldn’t be happier with how her interview turned out (and with it becoming ever more clear that it was not entirely unforseeable), Sherman’s fortunes just might be beginning to change for the better. Communications masterstroke, indeed.

There came no better indication of the shifting winds than earlier this afternoon, when John McCain was asked for his thoughts on the Super Bowl:

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What Richard Sherman Didn’t Teach Us About America

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Isaac Saul has a great piece up on Huffington Post, What Richard Sherman Taught Us About America. In case you had any doubts from my previous coverage of the incident, I enjoyed Saul’s defense of the star cornerback. But I also want to defend America, which is why I take issue with two pieces of his analysis.

Here’s the first excerpt I want to talk about:

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That alleged Velveeta shortage isn’t just bullshit; it’s also blackmail.

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[Caption: I can't believe it's not silicone!] [Referring to the bottom.] [The second bottom.]

Remember that Velveeta shortage? If not, here’s NPR from back on January 8:

According to an AdvertisingAge , Velveeta may be a little hard to come by in some areas over the next few weeks.

Ad Age reports that an employee of a Brooklyn, N.Y., area grocery has been told that shipments of Velveeta won’t come until February. And the publication says there are reports about shortages from a few other grocery stores on the East Coast.

A Kraft spokesperson cites high demand as a factor. “It’s … amplified by the fact that this is a key time for the brand,” Jody Moore told Ad Age.

We asked Kraft if it has any plans to get the production chain moving a little faster, and we heard back from Moore, who told us in an email that it is “possible that consumers may not be able to find some Velveeta products on store shelves over the next couple of weeks.”

It always seemed a little too convenient that the “shortage” was set to occur right around the time of the Super Bowl. A cheap way to get your brand in the headlines. Kind of like announcing heavy R&D in doorstep drone delivery erev Cyber Monday.

Though he was on break at the height of the furor, Jon Stewart rightfully called out the media for giving Kraft all that free airtime last night. And since this is the same media that covered the Velveeta shortage, it should come as no surprise that it also reported on what the late-night comedian had to say. Here’s one synopsis of the above clip:

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Richard Sherman has been accused of selfishness. How selfish is he?

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The story after last night’s NFC Championship match could have gone in any number of directions:

  • Pete Carroll is now the third head coach in history to win both a college championship and an NFL conference championship.
  • Marshawn Lynch became the first RB to gain over 100 yards against SF all season, and his long TD runs in the playoffs are at risk of becoming routine.
  • Angry Pedestrian Doug Baldwin had his first 100-yard game and also had a crucial kick return go for 69 yards.
  • Kam Chancellor had himself a monster game, with several big hits and a crucial interception.
  • Russell Wilson continues to be the Messiah (even as he professes the real one is some guy named Jesus).
  • Did FOX really need to show us Navarro Bowman’s horrific leg injury a dozen times?
  • Etc.

In other words, the Seahawks’ victory was a whole-team effort. But the day after Seattle dispatched San Francisco, the entire football world has been talking about one thing, and one thing only: Richard Sherman.

In a masterstroke of self-promotion by the communications major out of Stanford, Public Enemy No. 1 made Richard Sherman a household name (which he should have been for a while now). And while I don’t have a problem with what Ringwerm Sherm said about the mediocre Crabtree (remind me, how does mediocre compare to pedestrian?), I think it’s tough to defend Sherman on at least one count:

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Marshawn Lynch has made a name for himself in Beast Mode. But what kind of Beast is he?

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Marshawn Lynch was in Beast Mode long before he showed up in Seattle via mid-season trade in 2010. And it didn’t take long for him to demonstrate why he earned that nickname:

But all this begs an obvious question, as you may have gathered from the subject line of this post: just what species of beast is he?

We got a preliminary answer during last week’s game, when the broadcast briefly cut away to the Seattle aquariam for a quick peek at Marshawn Pinch:

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The Wall Street Journal says the Seahawks are cheaters. (So do 49ers fans.) About that.

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One of the nice things about making it deep into the playoffs is that your team starts to get attention from national media outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal.

So it was, in the week before the Seahawks’ victory against the New Orleans Saints, that said journalistic enterprise published an article whose message is aptly summarized in its headline: The Seahawks’ Grabby Talons: Seattle’s Defense Relies On a Brazen Tactic: Rampant Interference:*

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Look who’s tracking back to me now

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WordPress tracks certain visitor statistics. It doesn’t break down information visitor-by-visitor, but it does tell you, in the aggregate, how they made it to your blog, what pages they looked at, where in the world they come from, and what they clicked on while they were around.

This morning, I noticed something curious: someone had pointed to Paper Treiger from Buzzfeed. That alone was somewhat unusual. But the mystery deepened when I saw the specific url:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/shabnamsa/12-signs-that-you-are-probably-a-muslim-living-in-ct8y

Oh no. My — obvious — first thought was that I’d said something offensive. I know I’m not so good at filtering. And now, I was about to make it onto a list of annoying things people say to Muslims all the time because they just don’t get it. Whoops. I imagined last week’s 21 Things That Happen When You Don’t Eat Meat, except I’d be coming at it from the other side.

I expected the worst. I had to click.

And I had my Avital Chizhik-in-the-NYTimes moment. The list’s full title turned out to be 12 Signs That You Are Probably A Muslim Living In America #MuslimProblems. More importantly, nearly every single item on the list was immediately familiar to this Orthodox Jew. Replace Eid with Succot, Muslim with Jew, Arabic with Hebrew, and Buzzfeed could have a whole ‘nother listicle on its hands. As if we need another one.

The only item I couldn’t really relate to:

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Ski Free in real life

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Via the AP, Bear turns heads on Lake Tahoe ski slopes:

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — An unusual sight for winter turned some skiers’ heads on the slopes at Lake Tahoe: a black bear.

What in the world was s/he doing out there?

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Finally, a reasonable explanation for the 49ers billboard in Fife

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It’s been called the Insuffera-Bowl: the epic denouement of the NFC West’s 2013, a face-off between two teams the rest of the Football universe has had enough of.

Fans in Seattle and San Francisco would agree, but only up to a point (exactly 50%, if you must know): they love their own teams and [the opposite] one another. And so the rivalry has degenerated into a series of semi-juvenile pranks: 12th men flew their flag over Candlestick in December, paid for a brick in Levi’s Stadium, and have even stooped so low as to prank call a 49ers fan.

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco was not going to take all that lying down. Here’s an article from December:

The budding rivalry between the NFC West teams will be ratcheted up even more in the coming weeks, when a group from the City by the Bay erects a taunting billboard somewhere in Seattle. It will play on the fact that San Francisco has won five Super Bowls compared to the Seahawks’ current total of zero.

Cute idea, I suppose. Just one problem — the billboard they settled on was not exactly “somewhere in Seattle”:

A group of 49ers fans who raised money for a billboard in Seattle to brag about their team’s five Super Bowl trophies got their sign – but it’s nowhere near CenturyLink Field.

The digital billboard is just north of Fife, about 27 miles from downtown Seattle.

27 miles from the Clink? In Fife? What in the world were these guys thinking? Do they not have a map? But it all made sense the moment I remembered who we’re dealing with. At 27 miles, Fife is actually much closer to downtown Seattle than Santa Clara is to San Francisco:

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