Is it more glaring when a sports icon — or anybody else, for that matter — wins or loses without any grace?
I thought about this while listening to a radio program in Miami on Monday afternoon (apologies to the savvy host for not catching his name). He posed the fascinating question after pondering the outcomes of the victories by Denver and Seattle, to list those franchises into the 2014 Super Bowl.
New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick griped that his star defensive back had been injured on purpose by a Broncos player (it might well have been Wes Welker, his former star receiver who jumped to Denver this season). Belichick tried to take the high road but he came across as petty, if not petulant in his complaint.
Meanwhile, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman shouted into the TV camera after causing the game-clinching interception. He dissed 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree in a wild-eyed demonstration of absolutely no self-control. It was a petty and petulant exhibition, for which he subsequently tried to apologize.
Both comments make me a little sad. Why can't people win or lose with a sense of grace? It doesn't take much work. Tom Brady and Jim Harbaugh pulled it off after the two games on Sunday. Both men were absolutely devastated by their teams' defeats and you could see the disappointment in their faces. Yet both fellows took the high road for real. They said their teams had gotten outplayed when it counted and they moved on.
Sadly, Sherman will take center stage during the Super Bowl buildup for his poor manners and immaturity. Journalists are forever looking for something to hype — good is fine, bad is even better. It would be one thing if Sherman somehow thought out in advance his behavior and planned to make this publicity-stealing scene. (Hey, the man did go to Stanford, so maybe he is that savvy).
You're going to see and hear Sherman a lot in the next two weeks. Belichick, the bad loser, will thankfully shrink into the shadows.
To the victor goes the spoils, right?
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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