Why Trent Williams hit Richard Sherman

January 9, 2013

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

 

Everyone grew up with the kid on the playground who was so annoying that by the end of recess you wanted to punch him in the face. And I don’t mean naturally annoying. I mean deliberately in your face, push your buttons, “Why don’t you just hit me, then?” annoying. 

On Sunday Richard Sherman was that kid, and because someone had the brilliant foresight to mic him up (video below via Deadspin), you can hear what pushed Trent Williams to sock him one. 

Trash talking on the football field is common, and Sherman spent the game auditioning for Trash Talker of the Year. He back-talked the refs, egged on Pierre Garcon, and as sad Redskins fans began to file out in the fourth quarter, he sent them off with “Bye, bye. Bye, bye. Beat the traffic. Beat the traffic.”

But it’s customary that when the game ends, so does the trash talk. So when Sherman brought his jabbering to the postgame handshakes, it lead to this exchange:

“Whatcha gonna do, boy,” Sherman said to Williams, who was none too pleased with the Seahawks cornerback and his bad timing. Williams responded that he was going to punch him. 

“Well, then, do it then, boy,” Sherman said. 

And so Williams did. Well, sort of. It was more of an open-handed face push, but that’s not really the point. I’m not condoning it, and the Redskins lineman offered an apology after the game for his actions. But after watching the video, I think we can consider it “justified slapicide.” 

It wasn’t all bad, though, as Sherman had these words for RGIII during their postgame embrace. 

“You  been having a helluva year,” he told the hobbled quarterback. “I’ve been proud of you since you spurned us. Hey, I didn’t wanna tell nobody what I told you. But I didn’t want you to go down that path. I’m proud of you, boy.”

Once upon a time Jim Harbaugh recruited RGIII to play for Stanford alongside Andrew Luck in a dual quarterback system. Sherman was already playing as a wide receiver at Stanford when RGIII turned down the offer and accepted a scholarship to play at Baylor.

There are a lot of reasons that RGIII passed up sharing snaps with Luck at Stanford, and it would be ridiculous to think that Sherman directly foiled Harbaugh’s recruitment efforts. But college coaches also depend on their existing players to help sell their programs to recruits. If a wide receiver encouraged a quarterback to play elsewhere, it would be interesting. 

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Dan Steinberg · January 9, 2013

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