Sunday, January 26, 2014

Richard Sherman & Intersectionality; Race, Class & Money Questions & Answers

A word that comes to my mind is intersectionality, in this case, race, class & money. By now, everyone has heard about the Sherman interview, the negative & positive feedback from it, and not much of it is surprising. Some thoughts, questions and answers flow through my mind, however.

Did Sherman get undue haranguing from White folks, sports fans, people who claim there's no prejudice involved for calling him a "thug", acting in a "classless" manner? Likely so. Many who deny privilege would say no, despite the evidence to the contrary (Start with a search on "thug code for n word" and take it from there).

Has he responded in a manner that is out of step with the "classless" designation bestowed upon him since? I believe so, but that's up for debate (not by me. I think the post interview interviews speak for themselves).

Is the fine he received outrageous? It is if your income is closer to the national median income ($52,513 in 2012) than Sherman's income in 2012 ($510,606 in 2012). It is likely not if you are in a profession that allows you to claim the fine as a writeoff on your tax returns and you have enough cash flow due to current endorsements that effectively doubles that salary to about $1.2 million.

Would a Black male who was a salutatorian in his high school, graduated from Stanford and is currently pursuing a Masters in Communication from said institution have an awareness of the impact of his words on multiple levels? I believe so.

Would he also be aware that an outburst like that, while likely incurring a fine and the ire of "fans" from across the country, would also get the attention of advertisers, who could raise his endorsement income from ~$600,000 to $5,000,000 in the next year, especially with a good performance in the Superbowl, whether he wins or not? Perhaps or perhaps not, but his agent definitely is.

Do I think that he made those statements with full awareness of that? I don't know. While there are reasons why it could be considered a shrewd move regardless of how the fans react, there's also the emotional impact of competition. If you've just made a play which in one fell stroke defeated your opponent, sent your team to the Super Bowl and made a receiver with which you've had issues eat shoe and crow in the offseason, you might just be emotional about it, just a lot a bit.

Have there been worse NFL interviews than that one? Well, here are five which may or or may not be worse. I don't think that Dennis Green got fined for his speech with profanity, while Richard Sherman's did (please correct me if I'm wrong on this in the comments).

Do I think that I've spent enough time on this one incident, especially when the end on Net Neutrality could have some very adverse reactions on the digital divide? Yes, at least for now. Peace, y'all.

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