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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins


By Donald V. Watkins ©Copyrighted and Published on March 11, 2018

I first wrote about Richard Sherman on January 25, 2014. At that time, he was a 25-year-old Pro-Bowl defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks NFL football team.

Today, Sherman is back in the news because he represented himself in successfully negotiating a 3-year, $39 million contract to play football for the San Francisco 49ers. Sherman was his own agent in this deal.

Richard Sherman is a graduate of Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in communications. Stanford is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Stanford has never been known as a “football factory” like so many of America’s other 118 NCAA Division I-A football programs.

In addition to graduating from Stanford on time, Sherman enrolled in a masters program on campus while still playing collegiate football. This is a rare feat for a black student athlete. The only other NFL player I personally know who has accomplished a similar feat while on a college football scholarship is Allen Rossum, a Notre Dame graduate with dual degrees in Business Administration and Computer Applications. Rossum played 12 years in the NFL and is now a successful Atlanta businessman and executive in my waste-to-energy company.

Sherman, a very articulate athlete and academic scholar, is from Compton, California. He graduated salutatorian (second in his class) from Dominguez High School in Compton. Sherman has no criminal record nor does he have a reputation for being a “troublemaker”. He does, however, have an outstanding record of charitable community service that matches his All-star status on the football field.

Sherman is a highly intelligent and very gifted man who is not lacking in self-confidence on or off the football field. His intellectual acumen matches his exceptional athleticism. Very few professional athletes are in his league, on or off the field.

Sherman is what America craves for in its professional athletes. He is smart, articulate, hard working, college educated (with a real degree from one of the world’s premier academic institutions), and prepared for life after football. In fact, Sherman started his preparation for life after football long before he began his NFL career.

As evidenced by Richard Sherman’s new contract, he has accomplished more at his age than most people will accomplish in a lifetime. Sherman is an excellent role model for young Americans, particularly young black males. He did not choose football over academics. He chose both and pursued both with equal vigor.

We definitely need more Richard Shermans in professional sports and in life.


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