Richard Sherman has never shied away from talking to the press. But after teammate Marshawn Lynch was fined $100,000 last week for falling short of a league-mandated quota for media appearances, Sherman blasted the NFL for its policies in a creative way.
At a weekly meeting with reporters, the outspoken Seahawks cornerback put on a skit of sorts with Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who spent the press conference crouched behind a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself.
Their parody routine took shots at what they see as hypocrisy within the league in terms of how it treats endorsement deals and player safety and sarcastically name-dropped various brand-name sponsors like Subway, Campbell's Soup and Martinelli's along the way.
Sherman contrasted the NFL's ban on players making individual endorsement deals with liquor companies to the fact that one of the league's biggest sponsors is Anheuser-Busch.
"Yeah, sounds a little bit hypocritical. It seems like we’re in a league where they say: ‘Players, you know, you don’t endorse any alcohol. Please don’t endorse alcohol; no DUIs please.’ But yet, a beer sponsor is their biggest sponsor."
Sherman and Baldwin also poked fun at a league ban on players wearing Beats by Dre headphones to appease its sponsor Bose, a policy that Sherman and other Beats-sponsored players have regularly flouteddespite the fines they might face.
Sherman: "Geez, Louise. But you know who pays me a lot of money? Beats by Dre, the wonderful headphones I wear. But the league doesn't let me say anything about them. Doug, why is that?"Baldwin: “I don’t know. Sounds kind of hypocritical to me.”
They also touched briefly on player safety, a hot-button issue for the league right now.
Baldwin: “Speaking of health, how do you feel about the NFL making me play two games in five days?”Sherman: “Oh my god! Jeez! I almost didn’t realize that, because they’ve been talking about player safety so much. And it’s like, two games in five days doesn’t seem like you care about player safety. It’s a little bit much for me.
The skit was capped off with Sherman sarcastically explaining that this is how the NFL wants players to interact with the media — to spout off the names of league sponsors in interviews and act in a way that better serve the business interests of the NFL than the players themselves.
“It’s fun. It’s fun to use your time in the NFL to speak about something you care about, right? Right? Because then you don’t get fined $100,000. You don’t get fined at all for this. This is how they want us to talk, right? This is what they want us to do: They want us to advertise, right Doug?”
While the NFL has not weighed in on the press conference, ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell called out Sherman and Baldwin for what he called their own hypocrisy. Rovell fired back at the players on his Twitter account, claiming they also benefit from the league's advertising and that media appearances are just as important for their salaries.
Richard Sherman & Doug Baldwin should probably get their facts straight before doing a parody of the league's sponsorship deals.
NFL players get 45% of NFL sponsorship $, goes into the cap. So players do benefit from league deals.
Sherman also said he can't talk about Beats by Dre. Also not true. He can talk all he wants. He just can't wear logo in postgame.
By having a Beats deal, and the league doing a Bose deal, Sherman is technically double dipping + got the Campbell's deal thru league.
Final point on Sherman/Baldwin: Talking to media is part of the job. They wouldn't make as much if NFL wasn't pulling in $7B/year from media
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, MARSHAWN LYNCH, NFL, RICHARD SHERMAN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, SPORTS