Richard Sherman: "Stop trying to label people"

MSNBC's Chris Hayes asked the Seahawks cornerback what he thinks of being called "one of the good ones"

Published January 28, 2014 4:23PM (EST)

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who has become a household name after his post-game outburst with Erin Andrews went viral, appeared on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes" to discuss the subsequent racist backlash he received, including being called a "thug," and conversely, "one of the good ones."

“One of the things I've noticed in people talking about you is one side of it is people calling you a thug,” host Chris Hayes said, “and then people run in and say, 'Oh, but he’s got a Stanford degree,’ and it feels like sometimes the subtext is, ‘He’s one of the good ones. Don’t worry. He's got a Stanford degree.'"

"How do you respond to the way, to that degree, and the fact that you were a good student, is being marshaled in the way people talk about it?” asked Hayes.

“I think that’s showing some of the closed-mindedness of society, and how they want to label people," Sherman responded. "They want to feel like it’s black or white, it’s either this category or this category. There’s no middle ground."

“I think I encompass part of both," Sherman added. "I was totally raised in Compton. I totally was there. I might not fit in the best, but I was there, that’s where I’m from. I also went to Stanford and got my education, succeeded in that way, and I’m also in the NFL, and part of that fraternity.”

“There’s so many things that go into a person that — stop trying to label people, is what I can say," he concluded. "The best label for me is that I’m a pragmatist. I’m a guy who believes that my reality is the reality of the world, and I do my best to make it that way.”

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Football Race Racism Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Video