Last week, the San Francisco 49ers played the Cleveland Browns in Monday Night Football. It was a pretty unremarkable game (the 49ers won 31 to 3).
But what happened after the game was more interesting.
Richard Sherman, the outspoken cornerback of the 49ers, called out the Browns’ controversial quarterback for his “bush league” act before the game. In a postgame interview, Sherman said that Mayfield snubbed him during Monday’s pregame handshake.
“What’s amazing—and annoying—was him not shaking hands at the beginning,” Sherman said Monday night, according to NFL.com. “That’s some college s—. It’s ridiculous. We’re all trying to get psyched up, but shaking hands with your opponent—that’s NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush league stuff, that’s disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that’s gonna get us fired up.”
The snub obviously fueled Sherman, who had an interception, and the 49ers defense in holding the Browns to three points.
But the next day, video surfaced that showed Mayfield slapping hands with Sherman before the coin toss, then running to his sideline after the referee picked up the coin.
The following day, Sherman said he would apologize, saying that “sometimes you remember things a little differently than it happened” but “obviously, it still motivated me the same way.”
I don’t think Sherman was lying when he originally recounted the snub. After all, millions of people watch Monday Night Football, and cameras would have been sure to catch the snub. And it was only a few hours after the incident, so time was certainly not a factor for his memory to have gone sideways.
But Sherman clearly had a bias and an agenda (to get motivated) and misremembered the story to get himself fired up.
That’s totally cool, but it’s just a good reminder that you can’t always rely on one person’s word.
Especially when it can be confirmed or denied through other sources.