Changing the subject

Seeking distractions from the Sherman brouhaha

Have you heard of Richard Sherman, the self-proclaimed best corner in the league?

Of course you have. His interview after sealing the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC Championship win and Super Bowl berth is about all anyone is talking about these days. Sherman is a polarizing figure, to say the least. To one side, he is an overconfident, self-absorbed disgrace to the game. To the other side, he is a hardworking, misunderstood, rags-to-riches hero who was provoked by a worse offender and simply caught in the heat of the moment.

To everyone else he is … a football player.

I’m not going to spend any more time outlining the Sherman controversy — for that you can look to Fritz Metzinger’s excellent “Three Angry Men” or to your social media outlet of choice, where you and your friends can happily tear each other to shreds over the issue. But for those of you who may have said, “Great play. Bad interview,” and then moved on from the whole spectacle, I empathize. Thus, I present to you a bunch of other interesting and non-Sherman related sports news to arm yourselves for the next two weeks. Happy distracting!

First, the Virginia basketball team neatly dismantled North Carolina on Monday ­— let’s relive that one again, please. The Cavaliers seem to be hitting their stride in conference play, now 5-1 against ACC opponents, and will host hapless instate rival Virginia Tech this weekend. By all logic, the game should be a drubbing, but if that’s not enough to entice you, Saturday’s halftime show features the most exciting event in all of toddler sports: the Diaper Derby!

In case you’re suffering from baseball withdrawal, there’s always the latest in A-Rod drama to distract you. The much-reviled third baseman is suing the players’ union and Major League Baseball itself to overturn his 2014 suspension, but should he return to the MLB he’ll have a whole different enemy to face, as other players apparently want him kicked out of the union. That’s not actually allowed, so instead they’ll have to settle for a little chin music to lay down the law.

In warmer climates, the 2014 Australian Open draws to a close after a fortnight of surprises. No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska toppled two-time defending champ and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals, and will face No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova, who downed No. 3 Maria Sharapova. Fourteenth-seeded Ana Ivanovic eliminated No. 1 seed Serena Williams in the Round of 16 this past weekend. On the men’s side, No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka ousted three-time defending champ No. 2 Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller en route to the semifinals, topping off a whirlwind of upsets that should suffice for an interesting conversation. At the very least, you can amuse yourself by trying to say “Agnieszka Radwanska” 10 times fast.

Here’s the best diversion yet. The Jamaican bobsled team, thanks to a million Internet users with a love of the underdog in their hearts and probably too much money in their pockets, will head to Sochi for the Winter Olympics! Really, you don’t need to know much about bobsledding to root for this story, and it seems unlikely that anyone will ever argue it. Ever heard of anyone who hated “Cool Runnings?” Didn’t think so.

And as hard as it may be to believe, there are still other football players we can talk about. Notably, Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks of all time, is closing in on one of the best seasons of all time, and he’ll be matched up against read-option master and sophomore standout Russell Wilson. Plus, the teams backing each man are powerhouses in their own right. Throw in some frigid New Jersey weather and a few bizarre Old Spice commercials, and Super Bowl XLVIII should provide plenty of conversation beyond Sherman’s post-game antics.

Published January 22, 2014 in FP test, Sports

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