Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 28, 2014

Sherman, Miller apples of the same tree

Brent Glasgow
Hendricks County Flyer

— There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.

Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.

As someone who is believed by many to hold the IHSAA record for personal fouls on one play (3), perhaps my point of view isn’t exactly mainstream. When dealing with a disrespectful foe, I support the “If we don’t win the game, let’s win the fight” philosophy, and if called out by said opponent, the “Embarrass them until they want to quit” tenant. So, Sherman’s cranked-up rant didn’t bother me in the least.

A large portion of America apparently didn’t feel that way, and if the avalanche of anger on Twitter was any indication, that included a sizeable swath of Hoosierland hypocrites.

After seeing many label Sherman as classless (in addition to many worse descriptions), the question I posed to them was, “So, was Reggie Miller classless, too?”

Miller, my favorite athlete of all-time, is primarily known by those outside of Indiana for two games, and in both, he did things that would now land him in the Doghouse of Delicate Sensibilities.

In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals of 1994, Reg gave the choke sign and grabbed his junk toward Spike Lee for a national TV audience. After scoring eight points in 8.9 seconds to beat New York in Game 1 of ‘95, he ran around the court like a methed-up psycho, screaming at the Knicks fans who remained in attendance. In the post-game interview following that one, he said John Starks choked and that the Pacers expected to sweep them.

Many of those who ate up Miller’s antics squawked like Sherman stole their child and ran over their foot with the getaway car last Sunday night. Most that I confronted had clear selective memory about their retired Pacers hero, saying he never did anything like Sherman. It would’ve taken a heck of a lot more than 140 characters to detail Reg’s comparative actions, and his lust for the mental destruction of his adversaries.

Also affected by Sherman’s performance were some who are simply scared of anything not like them. This is largely an older, white-only sect, one that shivered at the sight of the 1980s and ‘90s Miami Hurricanes and Michigan’s Fab Five. Black and loud, not for them. They’d also be inclined to vote against marriage rights for all, based more on being frightened of what those crazy gays are up to than any religious conviction.

Meanwhile, some less hysterical folks just don’t like that kind of brashness in sports. For those in this group, I’d simply ask them to consider that there is no single set method for athletic success. An NFL team features over 50 different athletes and a coaching staff. Some come from privilege, others from places about as violent as Juarez, Mexico. Seattle has taken on a renegade image and has reached the same summit as the more tranquilized Denver Broncos. There is no right way or wrong way at the professional level, only the winning way and the losing way.

I covered the Indianapolis Colts for over three seasons. As a fan of the team since I was 10 years old, it was an amazing experience to do it during the Peyton Manning era. Still, it was one of the more boring teams in the league to cover, due to the measured, pastoral approach of then-coach Tony Dungy and the by-the-script edicts of tyrannical team president Bill Polian. From a reporter’s standpoint, I’m guessing Seattle is a fantastic team to be around, a non-filtered locker room full of athletes just as hungry and hard-working as anyone else in the business.

Seeing Sherman dis Michael Crabtree and scare Andrews made me miss the days of Miller, who was a mix of ability and bravado few can aspire to reach. It can’t be faked or learned. It has to come natural, like it did for Reggie.

Within 48 hours, Miller himself validated Sherman’s actions by saying on the Dan Patrick Show, “He is now considered my new BFF. If I was on Facebook, I would ‘like’ him.”

Boom, baby.

Brent Glasgow is a sports writer for the Hendricks County Flyer and Westside Flyer. He can be reached at (317) 272-5800, ext. 190 or brent.glasgow@flyergroup.com. Follow him on Twitter @BGlasgow37.