Former Giants great Michael Strahan came to the defense of publicly embattled Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman following his post-game on-camera tirade on Sunday.
“I didn’t mind his comments after the game,’’ Strahan said on a Fox Sports Super Bowl conference call with the media on Thursday. “It shocked a lot of people, the aggressiveness of his comments, but you also have to remember this is a guy who just made a big play, sending his team to the Super Bowl.’’
Sherman was screaming about the disrespect he had for the 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree, for whom he has a personal animus. The shock value of the video, witnessed by perhaps 55 million people, became an instant social media lightning rod, drawing ire and even racist comments, and it’s been replayed on mainstream news programs all week.
“For the casual fan who tuned in and saw their first glimpse of Richard Sherman doing that, because they are not used to him, it was shocking,’’ Strahan said. “But for everyone else who knows Richard Sherman, it was ‘That’s Richard Sherman doing what he does.’ He also does it because he knows it brings light and attention to himself.’’
Strahan said he is often asked what it’s really like on the field and Sherman’s overly hyper responses to reporter Erin Andrews is just an indication of the emotion that takes place.
“When you see that side, you can’t complain, you can’t be scared of it,’’ Strahan said, “because when he’s out on the field he has the have the utmost belief in himself … we all did at that time when we were playing. If you didn’t, you weren’t going to survive out there. I don’t fault him at all.’’
The Fox Sports producer, Richie Zyontz, who worked the Niners-Seahawks game said he was the one who pulled the plug on Andrews’ interview, fearing something worse was about to be said.
“I saw a train coming down the tracks,” Zyontz said in another Fox Sports Super Bowl teleconference. “It was compelling television. And like Joe [Buck] had mentioned earlier [during the call] we kind of had a preview of that in our production meeting [with Sherman]. It started crossing over a line that I did not want to see us go. Erin handled it very well, but I kind of said, ‘Let’s end this thing.’ He’s a good guy, an intelligent guy, an emotional guy and it was very compelling to watch. But it started getting a little dangerous for us.”