By Tony Massarotti
Once again, Richard Sherman is wrong. Poopfest? Please. What nonsense.
The truth is that Thursday Night Football and the general hypocrisy of the NFL go way beyond that.
So let’s say this more clearly: thank heavens for Richard Sherman. The NFL needs more players like him, not fewer — which is to say they need more talented, exceptionally bright and outspoken men who call out the NFL owners for being downright, well, greedy.
I have said this before and will say it again, probably forever: in a sport where careers can literally end in an instant, NFL players need more power. They need more guaranteed money. They need more protection. And yet the NFL players union continues to lag way behind those of MLB, the NHL and the NBA, which haul in fully guaranteed money for many players who do not deserve it.
The NFL is the exact opposite. And always has been.
The Thursday night games? We all know the story there. The NFL already owned Sunday, Sunday night and Monday night. But as usual, the owners wanted more. So they compromised the quality of the product — think about that for a minute — and, more importantly, the safety of the players for another lucrative television contract. The Thursday night games generally smell like an overstuffed Florida dumpster — in August — but, hey, the billionaires found another way to make a buck.
At some point, smart business gives way to sheer greed and, ultimately, gluttony.
With the seeming elimination of Sunday morning games, maybe the NFL is starting to recognize the error of its ways. Maybe Thursday night games will be the next eliminated. Or maybe not. The guess here is that the NFL uses the Thursday games as a bargaining chip to get some other concession from the players because, of course, they couldn’t possibly make a decision on their own based purely on what’s best for the game, their employees and their fans. They have to get something for it.
Meanwhile, the NFL players continue to have a leadership problem, which brings us back to someone like Sherman, who can cross more lines than just about any person in America. Born and raised in Compton, educated at Stanford. Having graduated from the school, he returned for a fifth year of eligibility to pursue a Masters.
Look, say what you will about Sherman. You probably don’t like him because he’s loud and interferes with your general enjoyment of the NFL, which is the ultimate escape. All you really want is the games. You don’t want the business, and you certainly don’t want the politics. But if you were an NFL player and you wanted someone to fight for you, you’d want someone smart, someone tough, someone in a high-profile position and someone completely unafraid. And you wouldn’t want a quarterback because, well, let’s face it, quarterbacks might as well be a part of ownership and/or upper management.
Me? I’d pick Sherman to represent me at the bargaining table.
Then you’d really see a poopfest.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.