SEATTLE (CBS4) – He’s become the most polarizing figure of the Super Bowl — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman has both been slammed and supported after his post-game rant in last weekend’s NFC Championship game. On Wednesday he came out swinging against his critics.

Sherman is calling out people who describe him as a “thug.” He didn’t leave much room for interpretation, calling his harshest critics essentially racist, saying the word “thug” really means something else.

“The reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s an accepted way of calling somebody the ‘N’ word nowadays,” he said. “It’s like everybody else said the ‘N’ word and then they say ‘thug,’ and that’s fine. It kind of takes me aback and it’s kind of disappointing because they know.”

Sherman’s remarks came at his last home news conference before traveling to New York. Most of the questions weren’t about football.

“Maybe it was miss-directed, maybe things may have been immature or things could have been worded better, but this is on a football field, you know, I wasn’t committing any crimes, doing anything illegal,” Sherman said.

It’s been the biggest story in sports for the last three days. The Seahawks deny it being a distraction, but the team has addressed it.

“I know he apologized and all that for those distractions and all that, but he’s one of those people who’s always focused on how he can improve and how he can help our football team. He’s a great teammate,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said.

CBS4’s Stan Bush traveled to Seattle and talked to fans who call the thug talk unfair.

“So you’re saying if it were a white player that reacted that way people wouldn’t be saying he’s a thug based on that reaction?” Bush asked a Seahawks fan.

“Using that word, yes,” the man replied.

“I used to live in Compton when I was a kid. He’s not a thug,” another fan said.

Sherman showed remorse but he didn’t apologize for the incident in whole and the issue likely won’t go away. It’s expected that he will be asked about it again at Super Bowl Media Day in New York.


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