Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he already knows what effect “deflategate” is going to have on the Super Bowl: none at all.
And if his prediction comes to fruition, Sherman has a question for the National Football League: Do you care more about the color of my teammate’s shoes than about cheating?
Sherman said Wednesday that he does not expect any Patriots players or staff to be suspended if they are found to have played a role in the team purposefully deflating footballs during the AFC Championship Game last Sunday. ESPN reported Tuesday that an NFL investigation had found that 11 of the Patriots' 12 footballs were deflated, which can give the offensive team an advantage.
“[Deflategate is] not going to have any effect on this game,” Sherman said, referring to the Super Bowl, according to ESPN. “Nobody is going to get suspended [for the Super Bowl], and nothing's going to happen.”
What appears to irk Sherman about “deflategate” isn’t so much the appearance of cheating itself, but how he expects the league to react compared to how it punishes other infractions. The NFL told Sherman’s teammate, star running back Marshawn Lynch, that he would be barred from playing in last week's NFC Championship Game if he wore these gold cleats:
I cannot wait to see @beastmode Marshawn Lynch rocking these this weekend. I think one of his notorious crazy runs would just look that much "Gold-er" What do my 12th man fans think? #SolesBySir #customCleats #1of1 #gold #ALLGOLD #Seattle #Seahawks #12man #12thman FEEL FREE TO TAG ALL YOUR SEAHAWKS FANS #thankful #blessed #stillCantBelieveIMakeCleatikeThese
“They were trying to suspend Marshawn for gold shoes and that [deflating the ball] really affects the game,” Sherman said, according to the Boston Globe. “You suspend Marshawn for gold shoes, then you’ve got balls being deflated and that’s the issue.”
Sherman has a history of calling out what he sees as NFL hypocrisy. Late last year, Sherman held a press conference alongside a cardboard cutout of teammate Doug Baldwin -- Baldwin hid behind the podium for some reason -- in which the duo criticized the league’s requirement that players talk to the media but make sure to wear the appropriate headphones when they do. (The league bans players from wearing Beats by Dre headphones on camera immediately before and after a game.)
The duo also pointed out at the time that the league says it worries about player safety, but sometimes makes teams play two games in five days.