What we can learn from Seattle Seahawks, Richard Sherman about communications

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By now you’ve probably heard about Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman’s epic rant just seconds after the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers .

But if you haven’t and you’ve been living under a rock for the past 72 hours, here’s how it went down.

Moments after Seattle clinched a spot in the Super Bowl, Sherman was interviewed by FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews about his game-clinching play.

And boy did Sherman have a lot to say.

Sherman held nothing back, proceeding to yell in Andrew’s face -- and to the millions of Americans watching the postgame celebration -- about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s final pass in the end zone to 49ers’ receiver Michael Crabtree, which resulted in an interception and a trip to the Super Bowl for the Seattle Seahawks.

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

Oh, but it gets better. When Andrews asked him who was talking about him, Sherman yelled some more.

“Crabtree! Don’t you open your mouth about the best,” Sherman yelled. “Or I'm gonna shut it for you real quick.”

Like the millions of Americans watching, I was shocked. Did that really just happen? I had to watch it again...and again. Yes, yes it did just happen.

My initial reaction was that Sherman looked like a poor sport, foolish and well, just down right crazy.

As communications professionals we know that talking bad about your competition in any form isn’t the best way to get noticed.

But after watching the 19-second rant more than once, I realized I was wrong…kind of. And, that there might be a couple communications tips we can actually take away from this now famous incident.  Let me explain:

  • Clearly, Sherman’s epic rant wasn’t the best decision but he did it all without cursing.
  • Sherman probably did well in his public speaking class in college at Stanford because the communications graduate managed to look directly into the camera during the whole rant. Impressive.
  • He was memorable. We are always looking for ways to set our businesses apart. Sherman wasn’t afraid to be different. It wasn’t an interview filled with sports clichés, it had emotion and it’s likely something most sports fans will never forget.

What do you think?

So, was Sherman’s rant poor sportsmanship or just a player finally getting real after a big win? Are there any other communications takeaways that we can learn from this and some of the other more famous interview meltdowns?

Katie Snyder
Katie Snyder
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

2 Comments

  1. Mark Roden says:

    Although everyone talks about the “heat of the moment”, it looked like more of a premeditated rant to me. I think while 2/3rd of America thought he looked like a jerk, those people people will cheer for him if he ever plays for THEIR team. I’ll bet he increased his value in the marketplace by millions of dollars and arrogant, self centered maniacs are treasured in the NFL. You have to be nuts to play the game, anyway.

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