NFL rules stipulate that players make themselves available to media for questions at least twice a week.
Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman spoke to reporters but refused to answer any questions at the podium on Wednesday, instead making a powerful statement on the recent shootings of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina at the hands of police officers, and their relation to protests during pregame renditions of the national anthem sparked by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“So today, obviously we’re playing San Fran and they’re a great opponent,” Sherman said, via Pro Football Talk. “They’ve got some weapons. Torrey Smith, Carlos Hyde. They’re running Chip Kelly’s offense. They do a great job. They’ve been getting yards, moving the ball, scoring points. But I’m not going to answer any questions today and it’s no offense to you guys. I think the state of things in the world today is very interesting. I think you have players that are trying to take a stand and trying to be aware of social issues and try to make a stand and increase people’s awareness and put a spotlight on it and they’re being ignored. Whether they’re taking a knee or whether they’re locking arms, they’re trying to bring people together and unite them for a cause. I think the last couple days a couple more guys have gotten shot and killed in the middle of the street. More videos have come out of guys getting killed, and I think people are still missing the point. The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right. It’s not right for people to get killed in the street.
“I do a lot of community service. I go out there and try to help kids and try to encourage them to be better and to aspire to more. And when you tell a kid, ‘When you’re dealing with police, just put your hands up and comply with everything,’ and there’s still a chance of them getting shot and no repercussions for anyone, that’s an unfortunate time to be living. It’s an unfortunate place to be in. There’s not a lot you can tell a kid. There’s not a lot you can try to inspire … a person when you say, ‘We need black fathers to be in the community to stay their for your kids,’ but they’re getting killed in the street for nothing, for putting their hands on their cars. And I think that’s the unfortunate part, that’s the unfortunate place that we’re living in. And something needs to be done. And so when a guy takes a knee, you can ignore it. You can say he’s not being patriotic, he’s not honoring the flag. I’m doing none of those things. I’m saying, straight up, this is wrong and we need to do something. So thank you guys, have a blessed day.”
He then walked away from the press conference, but later answered reporters' questions in the locker room.
This isn't the defensive back's first time tackling this issue.
Back in July, after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul spoke out against violence from and toward police, he called for both police and the communities they're supposed to protect to stop looking at one another as the enemy.
“I think we target the inner city and the black community and a lot of the places that have high gang violence and beg for them to stop the senseless violence within our own community," Sherman told the Undefeated. "Because once we stop that, once we unite as a people, once we come together and stop looking at each other as enemies, then we can move forward in a very powerful way. And combat issues in a different way than it has ever been done before. But until we do that, we are fighting on two fronts.”
“I believe that things will come together,” he later added. “This country has overcome worse things than this, like slavery.”