'He's misunderstood': Fans, family defend Richard Sherman

MILL CREEK, Wash. — The line of waiting fans stretched the length of two city blocks, wrapping around a strip mall parking lot. Suddenly, the fans loudly erupted down the line—like exploding firecrackers on a long string.

Richard Sherman, now one of most controversial figures in America had arrived, flanked by a Mill Creek police escort.

“There he is,” screamed one fan. “Richard, we got your back,” shouted another. The lanky Seahawks superstar, whose nationally televised post-victory outburst caused endless debate and discussion, strode through the crush of fans and cameras waving, high-fiving, flashing a friendly 200-watt smile.

Sherman would spend the next three hours signing autographs, posing for photographs, and shaking hands with more than 300 fans who all paid $80 dollars for a chance to meet—and give moral support to a man portrayed by some pundits as classless—a thug, and worse.

“Anybody that doesn't love you is crazy,” said a woman who added, “Richard, you’re a good man.” Sherman leaned in, sincere—as if surprised. “I appreciate you,” he told her.

The gentle exchanges of mutual love between Sherman and his adoring fans seemed far from his shouting rant, directed at San Francisco 49ers wide-receiver Michael Crabtree, which was seen by millions of viewers around the world. Sherman’s angry, voice-cracking statement was shouted into a live network microphone only seconds after he made the best play of his career, and propelled the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.

“He decided not to talk to the media about this anymore, we’re keeping this positive,” said Sherman’s brother, Branton, who handles Sherman’s public appearances—like this one.

“This whole thing is really a dream come true,” said Branton Sherman. “He knows how to handle this kind of thing,” he said. Branton Sherman said he hopes people who jump to conclusions about his brother will understand the tension, stress and adrenaline-draining competiton he had just finished. He also was punched in the facemask by Crabtree, after Sherman patted Crabtree on the rear, and offered his hand with a shout of “good game!”

During his appearance, Sherman had endearing interactions with dozens of children, dumbstruck to be in Sherman’s presence, holding his hand while a parent snapped a picture.

Pee-wee Football player Nathan Morello gave Sherman a copy of Morello’s youth football card.

“Did you sign it for me?” asked Sherman.  “Alright, I'm going to put this in my collection!"

Morello told KIRO 7 “He was nice to me. He is nice a lot of times, but he just got mad that time so, I don't think people should be mad at him,” said Morello.

“Look at how he laughs, is so kind, look at the way he acted here with my kids and everyone,” said Andrew Poliak, who brought his two daughters to the autograph session. “He's a role model,” said Poliak. “I would happily have him hang out with my kids any day!”

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