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Back Page: Richard Sherman hits on one annoying thing about the NFL

By Derek Wetmore

You may have heard: NFL ratings are down this season.

Why are NFL ratings down this season?

Everybody has an opinion. Some are rooted in fact and some are a little out there.

Richard Sherman, the outspoken Seahawks cornerback, has a pretty good explanation.

The league is not fun anymore.

And he isn’t just waxing nostalgic, assigning more credit to a bygone era than it would have deserved in its day. Sherman makes a sound point about what separates, say, the NBA from the NFL.

“Because the league isn’t fun anymore,” Sherman told reporters, according to ESPN. “Every other league, you see the players have a good time. It’s a game. This isn’t politics. This isn’t justice. This is entertainment. And they’re no longer allowing the players to entertain. They’re no longer allowing the players to show any kind of personality, any kind of uniqueness, any individuality. Because they want to control the product. They want to control the messaging, etc., etc.”

That’s a really great point. And one of the things that makes the NBA so compelling today is the characters. From the somewhat bland but legendarily talented Steph Curry, to the dynamic Russell Westbrook, and of course, LeBron James. These guys are personalities. And they’re allowed to be.

They celebrate and get emotional during games.

But the NFL tries to police everything it possible can, from uniforms to touchdown celebrations and beyond. Sometimes it even oversteps its bounds and tries to supersede the justice system of the country in which it operates. That’s another column for another day.

Anyway, you might be thinking to yourself: Yeah, but good for the NFL for wanting to control the message here. It’s a highly profitable model and besides, pro athletes are no different than other celebrities, and anything that damages their reputation also could damage that of the league in which they play.

Fair enough. I’ve made similar arguments in the past.

But Sherman anticipated that response even before it was spoken. And he makes a great counter-argument.

“They say we’re trying to influence kids, and that’s their biggest thing. That’s their biggest ploy is you don’t want to be a bad influence to kids,” he told reporters. “You don’t want to be a bad role model. And I can agree with that. But in the same breath, you can’t say Budweiser is the official sponsor of the NFL, and we’re trying to influence kids. So there’s a ton of hypocrisy, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t control it.”

That’s annoying to a lot of fans, no doubt, and while it’s probably not the only reason ratings are down this year, it’s possible that it’s a contributing factor.

Sherman also said that Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t done a great job and that for players “to say he hasn’t done a great job is beating a dead horse honestly.”

Goodell works for the 32 NFL ownership groups. Sherman works for one of those owners.

Good on him for not being afraid to speak his mind on such matters.

The post Back Page: Richard Sherman hits on one annoying thing about the NFL appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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