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Do White Athletes Get a Pass for Acting Like a ‘Thug’?

Richard Sherman
Steve Dykes, Getty Images

Richard Sherman made headlines on Sunday night with his epic rant to Erin Andrews of Fox after they defeated the San Fransisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl.

And of course, in this day and age, the critics came out of the woodwork.

“He’s a Thug” to racist remarks flourished on social media sites and in columns across this country.

Yet, on Saturday, a much more violent and “thug-ish” act occurred. And it had to do with a bunch of “white guys” in the NHL.  Wow, no shocker this may be the first you are hearing about.

Literally, a staged brawl between the Canucks and the Flames that had all the makings of a “Must See TV” feast with a violent side salad.

Yet, again, Sherman is the thug and these guys are just policing their sport.

I saw a quote on twitter earlier today from ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott:

 

Now to be fair, Sherman did rob Kap, verbally assault Crabtree & beat the 49ers… But clearly not what we would consider to be the definition of a thug.

However, the players from the NHL that were involved in the fight, did assault and beat each other, clearly justifying a “thug” persona more than what Sherman did with some calculated words.

And again, I laugh at the folks on twitter and other outlets calling Sherman a “Idiot” or attacking his intelligence.  Dude is perusing a Masters Degree from Stanford.

He’s smarter than most of you and yet you continue to hide in your glass house and proclaim injustice because a guy who just sealed a Super Bowl trip for his team was emotional and confrontational.

He speaks his mind, whether you like it or not and typically he speaks the truth.  I found almost all of what he said to Erin Andrews to be the truth and factual, didn’t you?

Grow up and enjoy it for what it is.  Entertainment ladies and gentlemen!

But it all brings us back to the question posed in the headline… If Richard Sherman looked like Wes Welker, are we using the word “thug”?  Why aren’t the hockey players referred to as “thugs” instead of “goons” or “enforcers”?  I say because they are white.

I’m not one to jump to the race card on many subjects, because I think it is overplayed.  But I still find it disturbing to see the hatred that is spewed by ignorant individuals to a athlete solely because he’s expressing himself.  May not be classy or tasteful, but regardless, the hatred aspect seems to follow more black athletes than white athletes.

Of course, this isn’t a scientific study, but my observations are certainly valid and I wonder if we will ever be to a place where the playing field in the court of public opinion becomes level?

** YOU CAN EMAIL JEFF THURN AT JT@ESPN991.COM & FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @JTESPN991

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