An ESPN article about tensions on the Seattle Seahawks by Seth Wickersham is making the rounds on Thursday, hitting the top of the /r/NFL subreddit and leading all stories on the ESPN.com homepage. In it, revelations about Richard Sherman telling Russell Wilson “You f- - -ing suck!” in a 2014 practice, Sherman’s heated argument with Germain Ifedi last summer, a night-before-Super-Bowl-48 fistfight between Seahawks receivers, and more juicy gossip is detailed. The gist of it all is not that much different than the same story that’s been told for years and won’t subside: A lot of players on Seattle’s roster don’t like Wilson and the favoritism he gets from Pete Carroll and other coaches.
By the end of the article though, everything is right with the Seahawks and Sherman, and between Sherman and Wilson, and they are prepared to return together and try for another Super Bowl trip in 2017.
The headline of “Richard Sherman won’t let it go, and it’s a problem” instantly incites the antennas in our brain that detect drama. However, the article itself ends with Sherman letting it go, and the final paragraph includes this:
"You straight?" Wilson asked.
"I hope I didn't break it," Sherman said.
"Love you, man."
They hugged and shook hands and their eyes locked. Sherman held his look for an extra beat, the way teammates do.
And as far as the rift between Sherman and Carroll that ignited serious trade talks for several weeks, the article says that is all in the past:
Carroll seemed to have done it again, flipping despair into hope. People in the building wondered how Sherman would respond to a hit to his pride, returning to Seattle after he had set the stage to be shipped. But he went about his job as if nothing had happened. All business. He's tutoring the young defensive backs, drafted to carry on his legacy. Maybe Sherman needed to dream of playing elsewhere to realize how good he has it. Or maybe it's all just believable now in spring but breakable come autumn, after the inevitable incomplete throw at the goal line.
One Seattle player who really did not care for the article was defensive end Michael Bennett, who called it trash that should be on TMZ because of all the “gossip” in it. Bennett went on to say that Russell Wilson is a great teammate, friend, and human being.
I love @DangeRussWilson great teammate n friend and even better human .I was at his house last week and he gave me BBQ ribs— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) May 25, 2017
I think the article itself is well-written, and tremendously researched despite Bennett’s objections. Instead, the issue for me is simply that the headline seems to sell a rift that the article itself ends up contradicting by the end — and authors rarely write their own headlines. That’s an editor’s job, the person behind the writer that readers not only never think about, but probably in many cases don’t even know exist.
That being said, if you want my takeaway from the article (first of all, thank you for caring what I think), it’s more like an interesting autobiography than it is a scientific journal that could change everything we know about the world; in this case, the “world” being the Seahawks. We get to use our imaginations to picture the possibilities of a Sherman-Marshawn Lynch pairing in New England (Wickersham mentions that Sherman told friends he considered what it would be like to be traded to the Patriots alongside Lynch, and that he also desired playing for the Dallas Cowboys) or what a fistfight between these receivers might look like (Doug Baldwin v Percy Harvin?) but there’s nothing in the piece that changes the future, as far as we know. All signs point to Sherman remaining with Seattle for the entire 2017 season, and that includes information in the conclusion of this article.
Because despite what it says on the front page of ESPN and the top of reddit, Sherman seems to have let it go and it doesn’t appear to be a problem. Everything in Seahawks world seems as normal today as it was on Wednesday — which, well, Danny Kelly put it best.
seahawks update: still a circus— Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) May 25, 2017
Update: Sherman chimed in to call the article a bunch of nonsense from anonymous sources.
Justin Britt called it “#fakenews”
Wilson’s twitter has remained silent on Thursday.