Many athletes across the professional landscape have joined in protests or taken to social media to voice their thoughts on nationwide protests, and San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is no different.
After days of national riots and protests after the death of Minnesota, Minneapolis man George Floyd in police custody, Sherman, who had been retweeting and re-posting various views and videos, spoke directly about race and police brutality.
Before Sunday, Sherman had not tweeted anything directly about the protests or the response from police departments around the country.
The 49ers corner is coming off his most productive season since heading to Santa Clara, California, notching 11 passes defended and three interceptions in the regular season as San Francisco totaled a 13-3 record and a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Sherman was selected to second-team All-Pro as well as the Pro Bowl.
Sherman’s New and Old Comments
Sherman has been known for being an outspoken NFL player throughout his time with the Seattle Seahawks and the 49ers, and during previous protests and tension over racial injustice in 2016, Sherman spoke to The Undefeated about his views.
Honestly, I think it’s unfortunate. You pray for the families on both sides. You don’t want to see anybody killed senselessly. It’s a tough time we are living in, a very scary time. It’s an uncertain future. It’s frustrating on both sides. Because you understand that police officers have a duty and a job. They sacrifice a lot to protect and serve. And I understand that some don’t do it the right way. I also understand that people shouldn’t get killed just because of the color of their skin. They have a right to a trial.
However, Sherman also received backlash online for using the phrase, “All Lives Matter,” with the then-Seahawk saying that race is a social construct and that being human beings is what is most important.
Any time you see people who are saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and then saying it’s time to kill police, then it is difficult to stand behind that logic. They are generalizing police just like they are asking police not to generalize us. It is very hypocritical. So, in that respect, I find it difficult to fully support that movement.
I stand by what I said that All Lives Matter and that we are human beings. And speaking to police, I want African-Americans and everybody else treated decently. I want them treated like human beings. And I also want the police treated like human beings. I don’t want police officers just getting knocked off in the street who haven’t done anything wrong.
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Sherman’s Recent Comments on Sports Reopening
Sherman has been active on Twitter and elsewhere during the spread of COVID-19, but his recent comments about states reopening was likely the most eye-catching.
The corner’s words came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan for pro sports to return, shortly after other states leaders called out to pro teams to play elsewhere if their home state was not planning to reopen in time for new pro schedules.
Sherman spoke more in replies, saying that much of the return of pro sports is “posturing.”
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.