Seahawks' Richard Sherman: NFL not allowing players to entertain

BySheil Kapadia ESPN logo
Thursday, November 3, 2016

RENTON, Wash. --Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was asked Thursday if he had a theory about why the NFL is experiencing declining TV ratings.

"Because the league isn't fun anymore," Sherman said. "Every other league, you see the players have a good time. It's a game. This isn't politics. This isn't justice. This is entertainment. And they're no longer allowing the players to entertain. They're no longer allowing the players to show any kind of personality, any kind of uniqueness, any individuality. Because they want to control the product. They want to control the messaging, etc., etc.

"They say we're trying to influence kids, and that's their biggest thing. That's their biggest ploy is you don't want to be a bad influence to kids. You don't want to be a bad role model. And I can agree with that. But in the same breath, you can't say Budweiser is the official sponsor of the NFL, and we're trying to influence kids. So there's a ton of hypocrisy, but it doesn't matter because we don't control it."

Sherman once again took aim at commissioner Roger Goodell and his role in making the game less fun. Sherman said the league has not reached out to him in the past when he has criticized Goodell, but the cornerback has heard from his peers.

"More just players understanding that it's the truth and applauding me and saying they wouldn't have said it, but they respect that I said it," Sherman said. "... It's the truth. He hasn't done a great job, and it's obvious. For us to say he hasn't done a great job is beating a dead horse honestly."

Sherman has sounded off multiple times this season on the difficulty of playing defense, given the league's current set of rules.

On the topic of protecting quarterbacks, Sherman said the NFL's stance has nothing to do with player safety.

"No, I don't buy it," he said. "That's for public perception. They don't care about player safety. I've said that several times. But they do care about paying the quarterback $20 million and him missing a season. They do care about that.

"So whether they say player safety or whatever it is, they're tired of $20 million quarterbacks sitting on the bench or IR for the whole season, so they're going to do whatever they can to protect their investments, and that's universal."

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