This past Sunday, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman hosted his first-annual (one presumes) celebrity softball game to benefit Helping a Hero, Blanket Coverage: The Richard Sherman Family Foundation, and other local charities. (Full disclosure: my dad’s company was among the event’s corporate sponsors.)
Local sportscaster Aaron Levine went out of his way to point out that the event presented a prime opportunity for the NFL to earn some positive headlines:
Richard Sherman is hardly the first player to host a charity event this summer, but this weekend, launching his ‘Blanket Coverage’ foundation rivaled any other in star quality, turnout and fun. It highlighted the good, which, my most accounts, is what the majority of NFL players represent, but rarely overshadows the negative attention brought about by a few.
Obviously, the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation has stolen the show, but other player arrests and incidents common around this time of year continue to steal the headlines.
And while we still have about three weeks before training camp to hold our collective breaths, tonight at least, we can rest assured that the Seahawks were part of something good.
But, he went on, that’s not exactly how things went down:
I’m proud we got requests from all over the country, including the NFL network and Fox Sports One, for footage from Sherman’s game in Tacoma. Then again, with such an impressive lineup of NFL stars helping a charity, what prevented those same networks from sending a reporter? They staked out a house in Massachusetts for a week, but couldn’t sacrifice a reporter to cover a charity game with a blockbuster cast of current players.
Unfortunately, it’s a reality of sensationalism, and at times, we’re all guilty.
Apparently, Richard Sherman and “charity” isn’t as sexy as Richard Sherman and “adderall.” Or Richard Sherman and “giving back” isn’t as sexy as “Twitter wars with Darrelle Revis.”
Good point. Speaking of Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis, a one-month old NFL.com article titled ‘Old and tired’ NFL storylines we’re ready to retire did not mince any words: “Richard Sherman’s manufactured rivalry with Darrelle Revis.”
And speaking of ‘Old and tired’ NFL storylines, I’ve got one the NFL.com article overlooked — by which I mean, back to the point of this article. Instead of focusing on what sounds to have been an immensely fun game to watch, coverage of the event on Shutdown Corner had a decidedly narrow focus:
Packers fans, you’ll be thrilled to know that Lance Easley, the replacement ref who made a mockery of the sport by giving Tate that touchdown, is now enjoying his bit of celebrity around Seattle. He even took a smiling picture signaling touchdown with Tate at Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s celebrity softball game, which he umpired.
Picking up on Easley’s hiring and turning it into a headline isn’t really a big deal. After all, that was probably the point — to attract publicity. It’s just Sherman being Sherman: he probably would have been upset if an article like this hadn’t been written. But Shutdown Corner didn’t end there. It went on to dredge up the most tired — and wrong — storyline of the 2012 NFL season:
So while Packers players, coaches and fans wonder if the worst call in NFL history cost them a chance to go further in the playoffs (could Green Bay off a bye week have beaten San Francisco at home? Atlanta in the NFC title game? Baltimore in the Super Bowl? It certainly can’t be ruled out), this guy is hamming it up with the Seahawks.
Let’s get one thing straight: taking for granted that the final play of the game should not have been a touchdown — and I’m not quite ready to cede that point — it doesn’t follow that Seattle should have lost, Green Bay should have won, and Shutdown Corner gets to engage in some fantasy alternate history in which the Packers took Superbowl XLVII. I can’t express this any better than I did at the time, so I’ll just copy/paste:
Regulation is 60 minutes. This controversial play lasted just eight seconds. During the other 59 minutes and 52 seconds, the referees got any number of plays wrong – plays that undoubtedly affected the outcome of the game. Some calls went the Seahawks way. Some calls went the Packers way. Yes, most of those blown calls are on the replacement refs.
But these are the same refs who have been calling every game for the past three weeks – this game should be counted like any other. Choosing to overturn the final play on Monday and handing a win to the Packers simply because it happened as the clock wound down is the definition of arbitrary.
And in case you still don’t believe me, here’s a video cataloging every “controversial call” from throughout the game. Admittedly, it goes overboard, but the point remains — this was a terribly-officiated game. The Seahawks won a coin toss, but it does not follow that they were less deserving of victory:
Sure, the final call may not have been entirely on the ball, but the Fail Mary was hardly a virgin: the referees got things wrong starting with the opening drive. So put down your pitchforks, Green Bay. There’s always next year.
By which I mean, the following year. #SeahawksSuperbowl2014