Trash TalkRichard Sherman is a bright, funny, super talented NFL player. In fact he is probably the best cornerback in the league. He is also known for “talking trash.” This latest incident is nothing new for him; he’s been this way consistently. Talking trash is nothing new in sports either. It’s become the norm in almost all sports. Richard Sherman’s outburst/interview got a lot of attention, when the great play he made to end the game should’ve received the attention.

I have never liked people like Richard Sherman, I respect their abilities but I can’t stand to watch them. It’s not an NFL cultural thing, not a race thing; I’m not being a “hater.” It’s not even a sports thing. There are business men and women who find their value in being more powerful or more successful than others. There are kids on playgrounds right now that are doing the same thing.

I just don’t like the people who seem to get their worth from putting others down.

Sports require you to score more than the other person, not demean them.

I’ve played lots of tennis tournaments, I know, not exactly a full contact sport. But besides boxing or mixed martial arts, it’s the only sport where it’s just you against the other guy. It’s a breeding ground for mind games. I’ve seen all different types of player, nice guys, total jerks, quiet guys and boisterous guys. I’ve heard lots of trash talk, seen lots of attempts to psyche others out and witnessed some monumental meltdowns. I even played one guy who wore the same colored clothing as the tennis ball so you would have trouble seeing the ball.

I’ve played team sports; I once made a buzzer beater to win a game and was carried off the court. But I never quite fit in with the guys who had to make sure the other team knew how great we were. I’ve played Church Softball, some of those guys acted worse than Richard Sherman. I even coached a Church basketball team. The last game I coached, I noticed that an opposing player fell down and wasn’t getting up. I alerted the referee who stopped play. The opposing coach thought I stopped play because his team had an easy basket opportunity at the other end of the court. He assumed I cared more about the game than I did about his player.

I can’t stand players who act like jerks, coaches who act like jerks and especially sports parents who act like jerks.

I never liked John McEnroe, Terrell Owens, Richard Sherman, and Mohamad Ali. You can root for them, I won’t.

I’d rather have Barry Sanders, Art Monk, Reggie White, Roger Federer and others who play at a high level while treating others at a high level.

Those guys may or may not win the game, but I imagine they will never embarrass the rest of the team.

Reggie White used to destroy quarterbacks and seconds later, help them up. That’s who I’d love for my son to watch. I want my son and daughter to be the better person regardless of who is the better athlete the day of the competition.

Competitiveness brings out who you are, the energy and excitement of competition is better than any drug, but that doesn’t require you to be a raging lunatic.

The Bible says, “Blessed are the meek” and “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” That doesn’t pertain specifically to sports but it includes any situation where we interact with others. Meekness in that verse is not weakness, it is controlled power. Jesus even said, “love your enemies” and “the greatest are the servants.”

You aren’t “soft” because you refuse to trash talk, you are mature.

You aren’t “weak” because you respect everyone, you are strong.

You aren’t less of a competitor because you never brag, you are truly confident.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any “trash talk” (my translation) come from your mouth.” Actually the “trash talk” (corrupt or rotten) word is where we get the word septic, like a septic tank… I will let you put that together.

You show strength by playing and competing with dignity for yourself and for others.

Who you are is determined by your treatment of others, not your dominance of others.

I wish the best for Richard Sherman; he has talents that can take him far in football and beyond. We may not know the whole story but that doesn’t excuse the postgame McEnroe like display.

I want my kids, to understand that being a man or woman of compassion is higher, stronger and greater than any “trash talk.”

I want them to compete on the field or on the court.

But most of all I want them to show Christlikeness everywhere life takes them.

Written by Tom Wise © Finding Wonder 2014

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