One of the most talked about stories of the new year comes from the world of sports but has since crossed over into much murkier waters of race.
By now you've seen the interview with Richard Sherman after his spectacular play that essentially sealed the deal for his Seattle Seahawks to head to the Super Bowl. (Via Sporting News, Sports Illustrated)
You have probably also seen the non stop reactions to Sherman's post game trash talk and the emergence of the word "thug" as a descriptor to Sherman's behaviour.
According to a report by Deadspin, the word "thug" was said on television 625 times the day after Sherman's rant.
The "thug" talk got so bad that Sherman addressed the critics of his behavior in multiple interviews. Along with apologizing for his poor sportsmanship Sherman told the media,
"The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's the accepted way of calling somebody the n-word nowadays." (Via ESPN)
Which got us (and everyone else) wondering, has thug become the new racial epithet of choice?
"Now that's a great point: that 'thug' is now the N-word" (Via HBO / "Real Time with Bill Maher")
Well, according to Gawker there's plenty of evidence to back up the claim pointing to similar criticism of Serena Williams and more recently Jameis Winston. "'Thug' in its modern usage ... has come to mean a black person ... who has committed any perceived infraction a white person can think of. ... Jameis Winston is a thug; Richard Sherman is a thug; Serena Williams is a ghetto thug."
Though there have plenty comments and tweets calling Sherman a "thug" among other things, pundits and publications have been reluctant to refer to Sherman as a thug, with one Fox News anchor even issuing an apology to Sherman on the air. (Via YouTube / Officialbeatsbydrdre, Fox News)
Out of all the media to cover Sherman and his rant, the most telling voice in all of this may be Sherman's who has done multiple interviews and even wrote an op-ed for Sports Illustrated explaining the incident.
Sherman wrote, "To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family."