Sherman: My teammates deserve the attention

( - Doug Baldwin gave a succinct explanation of what everyone seems to agree has become a unique spectacle in the ramp-up to the Super Bowl.

"Headed to this Zoo they call media day," the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver tweeted Tuesday.

It's a chance for players to sit and answer questions, not all of them about football.

Media-shy Marshawn Lynch even sat for several minutes before vanishing.

Or so it seemed.

The running back was soon noticed standing nearby in a dark Seahawks Super Bowl jacket, the hood pulled over his head, his eyes hidden behind large black sunglasses.

NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders, the Hall-of-Fame cornerback and world-class extrovert, approached him for an interview that lasted just a few minutes but peaked in the first exchange.

"You look good," Sanders said.

"S---, you do too," Lynch replied.

NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen later apologized for the expletive, and the brief exchange between Sanders and Lynch went instantly viral.

A Seahawks player in a viral video? What's new.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman knows all too well about that. His post-NFC Championship Game rant quickly went viral on social media -- and if you don't know what happened next, you probably don't watch much TV.

After deflecting the pass that led to a potentially game-saving interception in the final minute, Sherman screamed into Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews' microphone that he was the best corner in the game and disparaged the talent of San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Sherman has apologized for the remarks, and the NFL fined him for making a choking gesture toward the 49ers sideline that Sherman said was intended for San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Following his outburst, he was the subject of racist comments on social media and deemed a "thug" by critics. Sherman said the word "thug" bothered him "because it seems like it's the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays."

In the lead up to the first cold-weather Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the clamor over Sherman's comments has grown. It has crossed over from the sports world as a topic of general news and entertainment.

Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" ran a segment Monday night on Sherman's fine.

"This guy combines the temper of Russell Crowe, the hubris of Kanye West and the hairstyle of the Predator," host Stephen Colbert said.

Colbert said he couldn't legally show footage of Sherman's tipped pass and instead played footage of a cat batting a ball out of the air.

"What a game," Colbert joked.

He introduced footage of Sherman's rant. When the camera cut back to Colbert, the host was hiding under his desk. He lampooned those racist commenters on social media.

"Is the scary black man gone?" he said, a coy smirk crossing his face.

Which is to say the situation has reached peak exposure, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by the focus of all the attention.

As his team prepares to play Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Sherman said there's a group of people who deserve more credit.

"I really think these cameras should go to my teammates," Sherman said Tuesday. "Especially after Bobby Wagner's 15-tackle game in the NFC championship and Kam Chancellor's interception and multiple pass deflections and his 11 tackles.

"I think these cameras could be around anyone. I think what happened after the game forced them to be around me and forced everyone's attention (on me) but I think I have the best teammates in the world. Doug Baldwin had a heck of a game and he's a heck of a receiver and has the stats to prove it.

"I think the cameras could be anywhere and I think they could be on all my teammates and I think they deserve it."

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said Sherman's teammates believe he is the best cornerback in the league and urged that people see his post-game rant for what it was: an emotional player being emotional about an emotional play.

"He's a great teammate first of all and obviously he's the best corner in the game," said Wilson. "In terms of what he does on a regular basis, he puts the work in every day, he's an unbelievable teammate in the locker room, he loves the game of football. He's extremely intelligent. He graduated from Stanford with, I believe, a 3.9 GPA. He helps the community. He's just passionate about the game.

"He got fired up," Wilson concluded. "That's all that was."