Oh, just another normal day with the Super Bowl champions.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman used a cardboard "Doug Baldwin," backed up behind a podium and a cutout by the real Seahawks wide receiver and his fellow Stanford-educated player, and his weekly media availability today to perform a cutting skit mocking the NFL for being "hypocritical" in fining teammate Marshawn Lynch.
Sherman used every product he and Baldwin endorse (sans, to Sherman's regret, Oberto beef jerky and Body Armor sports drink, which he forgot) to drive home the point the league last week fined Lynch $100,000 for not talking to the media in the locker room at Arrowhead Stadium following Seattle's loss at Kansas City while also wanting them to talk as pitchmen for the league's sponsors.
Sherman told Lynch he was going to do this today. Lynch preferred he not. Maybe it had something to do with the running back not exactly embracing media attention, eh?
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The players also told the companies they mentioned they were about to do the skit mentioning their brands.
"You know, the other day Marshawn Lynch got fined $100,000. A hundred thousand! And it's like, they wouldn't have even paid him $100,000 if he had talked," Sherman began.
Yes, Sherman uttered "Geez Louise."
(That's beside the point.)
"But you know who does pay me $100,000? Beats by Dre, the wonderful headphones that I wear. But the league doesn't let me say anything about them," Sherman said of one of the companies that is not an official league sponsor; the league has fined players this season such as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for wearing before and after games and in postgame press conferences.
"Doug, why is that?"
"I don't know," Baldwin squealed in a fake, high-pitched voice from behind the Subway restaurants cardboard cutout of himself he was moving as if the paper was talking. "Sounds a little bit hypocritical to me."
"Yeah, sounds a little hypocritical," Sherman said, "where they say, 'Players, don't endorse any alcohol. Please don't endorse alcohol. Please.' And yet a beer sponsor is their biggest sponsor."
Anheuser-Busch pays the league about $200 million per year to proclaim Bud Light as "the official beer of the NFL."
"Doug, how do you feel about that?" Sherman said
"Like I said," Baldwin -- as cardboard "Baldwin" -- said, "sounds very hypocritical."
Sherman also made this often-argued point about the league and the Seahawks playing the 49ers in the latest NFL Thursday-night showcase game: "They've been talking about players' safety. Two games in five days? Doesn't seem like you care about players' safety."
What did some colleague players in the league think of Sherman mocking the NFL? The players-union representative of the 49ers, of all teams, loved it:
The beauty of what Sherman and Baldwin did is that they deftly toed a very fine line and gray area of NFL policies. They didn't exactly slander the league. They didn't slander a brand of the companies that sponsor the league. What they did was ridicule what has been a problem dating before this summer's Ray Rice domestic-violence case: inconsistent and at-times indefensible punishment, fines and suspensions for transgressions ranging in severity from sociopathic to relatively petty . In this case the two Stanford-educated Seahawks are taking the league to task for fining a teammate for not talking to the same media the league uses as the cornerstone for advertising and other aims of this $9-billion-per-year industry.
"It’s fun to use your time in the NFL to use your time to speak about something you care about, right? Then you don’t get fined $100,000. Yu don’t get fined at all for this," Sherman concluded. "This is how they want us to talk, right? This is what they want us to do, they want us to advertise, right Doug?”
“Sounds about right to me," Baldwin replied.
“All right, got to make some money," Sherman said. "Got to not get fined."