Richard Sherman is one of the defining figures of the current era of the NFL. Perhaps the best cornerback at a time when rule changes have made the position harder to play than ever before, he is outspoken and he wins. His Seahawks have won at least one playoff game for five consecutive years, including two Super Bowl appearances and one Lombardi Trophy. As an anchor of Seattle’s dominant Legion of Boom secondary, he’s as recognizable as any player in the league.
Of course, in keeping with one of the themes of an NFL season that’s seen countless stars go down injured, Sherman was ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury suffered in a Week 10 win over the Arizona Cardinals. This will be the first season in Sherman’s seven-year career in which he won’t play all 16 games. Healthy or not, Sherman, who is promoting Microsoft’s Create Change program, still has plenty to say. We spoke about — well, everything, from cryptocurrency to Lonzo Ball to his frustrations with the Defensive Player of the Year award.
On Bitcoin (Really)
What are you doing with your free time?
I spend more time with my kids. Hang out with them. Take them to school, drive them home, pick them up. Take them to do fun things that I wouldn’t have had a chance to do before. You know, we just got done with Thanksgiving, so help prepare stuff for the holidays. Helped my fiancée put up Christmas decorations. Obviously there’s more reading to do, but … workouts aren’t the game. Finances. Getting myself more educated, because obviously I’ve got more time. So different equities that I’m in control of, things like that.
You’re looking at your finances now because you have free time?
I’m looking at them because I just hadn’t had time to read over the minute details because I’m [training] half the time. So just going over everything and seeing where I stand in certain things.
Are you reading anything good right now?
The bitcoin stuff is really interesting. We got in it really early, and it’s so volatile. But it’s been fantastic. So just seeing how different things are coming off of that, different companies are merging, and branching off, and … it’s pretty cool stuff.
How did you end up getting involved early?
We had some people approach us early on in the process about using it in my website, when I first developed my website. And we were selling merchandise, and using it as a currency. We tried it, and we got a lot of backlash early on. People were like, “That’s not real currency,” etc., etc. And so we had already had an ear to it, we had already heard about it, four or five years ago.
You’re feeling pretty good about it now, right?
Yeah! Oh yeah, it’s great now! [Laughs.] There’s still some interesting conversations about it. You know, people still trying to figure out exactly what it is.
What’s interesting about it?
It’s not tangible. You know, I think that’s the part that gets a lot of people. It’s all digital. There’s been a lot of hacking, and the internet is very accessible to a lot of people who are less than reputable, so that’s people’s biggest insecurity and fear about it. You know, somebody hacks the system and steals everybody’s money. But I mean, it’s not really different from the way banking is done now.
On the Seahawks
How do the Seahawks change without you and Kam Chancellor? When you look at the Seahawks team, what do they need to do?
Just play hard, be disciplined. Obviously, [guys like] Shaq Griffin are definitely capable of getting the job done, executing, and making plays down the stretch. The experience that Kam and I have with those guys is pretty invaluable, but you still got Bobby Wagner, you still got K.J. Wright, Mike Bennett, so you still have a chance. Sheldon Richardson is out there; he’s playing good football.
Is Bobby Wagner your Defensive Player of the Year?
One hundred percent. He was my Defensive Player of the Year last year. It’s frustrating that our defensive players get kind of knocked for having talent with them, when other players don’t get the same treatment. [Luke] Kuechly won it a couple years ago with way worse stats than Bobby had last year, and it’s like other people are getting rewarded for making tackles 15 yards down the field, etc. Bobby Wagner’s sitting there making a ton of TFL’s, sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, doing everything. And the biggest knock on him is he plays on the defense with a lot of talented players, and I think that’s like knocking a quarterback because he has good receivers. It’s like, “Oh, yeah, he can’t be the MVP because he has great receivers,” and I don’t think that’s ever happened in the league. There have been years Earl [Thomas] should’ve got Defensive Player of the Year, I should’ve got Defensive Player of the Year, but the biggest knock was we played on a great defense, which made our stats and everything look different I guess.
On the Lakers
You’ve got more free time to watch your Lakers. What are you seeing?
We’re showing flashes, obviously. Against Golden State with arguably our best player [Kyle Kuzma] out, we gave them a run for their money. I think there’s definitely a bright future — I think they did a great job in the draft with Lonzo [Ball] and Kuzma and [Josh] Hart. I think [Brandon] Ingram had a great game against Golden State, and he’s developing into the player we thought he was going to be. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in free agency.
So you’re not worried about Lonzo at this point?
No, no. If they had billed Lonzo as like a big-time scorer coming out, and he wasn’t scoring, then you know, I’d be concerned. But you’re talking about 20 games into his rookie year, and he’s almost averaging triple-doubles. There’s not really much to be concerned about. I mean, he’s a rookie.
You’ve been one of the most outspoken athletes of the last couple years. Where do you think the future of athlete activism is going?
Honestly, I don’t know. Obviously it’s been great at creating change, and obviously Colin [Kaepernick] taking a knee started the entire movement for this generation. But I think it’ll continue to evolve, and continue to have an impact in the community. I think it’ll have an effect on younger generations, just understanding how powerful their voice is. And how they can express it in a helpful and obviously powerful way. But I just find it curious that people are looking more to quiet that voice than they are to solve the issue. But that’s a story for a different day.
When you say “people,” do you mean ownership, or fans, or what?
I mean both. I mean both. People are more concerned about quieting the voices of the players than they are with solving the issue. You know, if there was no issue, the players would have no reason to protest.
Any good pop culture recommendations?
Murder on the Orient Express. I just saw it in theaters, really good.
You’re doing charity work. You’re giving away a trip to the Super Bowl to the fan who best tells their “create change” story with Microsoft, and you’re giving away laptops. How did you decide on your cause?
When I was young, obviously we didn’t have a ton of money, we grew up in the inner city. Inner city is the inner city; tough neighborhood is a tough neighborhood no matter what state or city you’re in. There were a ton of kids that had tremendous potential, they were incredibly intelligent, very hard working, but didn’t have the tools to be successful, didn’t have pens, didn’t have papers, all their clothes were hand-me-down. You know, one parent at the house who was barely making ends meet, so they couldn’t go home and type a paper because they had no computer. That’s tough on anybody to be successful when you don’t have anything; you’re not even given a chance.
So when I got older, I promised myself that I would go back and help kids like that. I would help give them the tools that they need to be successful, so at least they’ll have a shot. I think the world would be a different place if everybody started on an even playing field and had even footing. I think there would be a lot less crime and divisiveness.