Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman likes to hit hard on the field and speak loudly off of it as well. It should be no surprise that Sherman would have a verbal answer to the league’s well-documented drop in television ratings.
According to Sherman, the answer lies in the way the league polices its players and confines them from being the loud personalities most of them are. In other words, the league isn’t fun anymore:
“Because the league isn’t fun anymore,” the Seattle Seahawks star cornerback said Thursday. “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.”
Sherman also had some pointed words for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, putting a lot of the onus on him for the decline in TV ratings. “(Goodell) hasn’t done a great job, and it’s obvious.”
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The Seahawks cornerback also went on to note that the league can’t expect players to be role models while the league partners with very adult businesses like Budweiser at the same time.
“They say we’re trying to influence kids, and that’s their biggest thing,” Sherman said. “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 isn’t wrong about the hypocrisy of the league, but it is also hard to ignore factors like the increasing length of games, players getting involved in off-the-field controversies and fans disliking the mix of politics into sports. Polls have shown that like it or not, protests started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick have turned fans off in droves.
Whatever the reasons, the NFL has a real problem and seemingly doesn’t want to deal with it head-on and is choosing to continue to bury its collective head in the sand. All of this is happening while ratings are doing well for other sports like college football and even soccer.