Richard Sherman: NFL Ratings Down ‘Because the League Isn’t Fun Anymore’

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(Photo: Getty Images)

The NFL's ratings are way, way down this season, and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman thinks he knows why.

"Because the league isn't fun anymore," the All-Pro said on 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."

In addition to punishing exuberant celebrations with fines, commissioner Roger Goodell and the rest of the league's front office have taken to punishing players for wearing colorful cleats, including ones that honor fallen American heroes, and preventing teams from posting their own videos of their players' highlights.

The always outspoken Sherman also pointed to the hypocrisy of a bottom line-concerned league hiding behind the guise of protecting the world's children from the horrors of Antonio Brown's dance moves.

"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."

A little over a month ago, Sherman starred in a video in which he decried the league's pretending to be concerned with the safety of its players—a league that is forcing them to play (bad) Thursday night games with less rest in between, and is still hoping to add games to the regular season schedule.

Sherman spoke to the matter again on Thursday.

"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."

He also addressed Goodell's job performance specifically: "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's Seahawks will take on the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.