Richard Sherman: NFL turning players into robots, turning off fans

SEATTLE -- Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who is not afraid to criticize the NFL, launched another volley Thursday.

In his regular feature on The Players' Tribune, Sherman touched on some issues the league is dealing with from domestic violence to player celebrations to how much power commissioner Roger Goodell wields.

Sherman brought up the debacle over how the league handled the case of former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown, accused of domestic violence against his wife in King County.

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The league had instituted a policy of giving players a six-game suspension if they are involved in domestic violence. But the NFL only suspended Brown one game this season. The league said it made this decision based on limited information it had at the time. But the league is now facing a PR nightmare, accused that it didn't initially do more after new allegations were released last week.

Sherman points out some fine print in the policy allows the NFL to lengthen or shorten the suspension as it sees fit.

"So basically, there is no real policy. The NFL can do whatever it wants," writes Sherman.

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Another issue: The NFL fined Steelers receiver Antonio Brown for twerking after a touchdown because it may be sexually suggestive. But Sherman says NFL cheerleaders do similar moves on the sidelines.

"Which is really just another example of the inconsistency — and to a degree, the hypocrisy — of the NFL," said Sherman.

Sherman says he thinks the league is taking away what fans love about the game and turning players into -- in his words -- robots.

"TV ratings are down, and I think we can point to the NFL legislating the emotion out of the game as a contributing factor," writes Sherman.

Overall ratings across the country have been down every week this season over last year. In the Seattle market, ratings for Seahawks games are up slightly through the first seven weeks of the season, but down for other NFL games.

Sherman also says he would like to see a neutral, third-party arbitrator to deal with fines and suspensions rather than have Goodell pounding the final gavel on regulating player conduct.

"The commissioner simply has too much power," writes Sherman.

Some of that power comes as part of the collective bargaining agreement the league and player's union signed before the 2011 season. It was most visibly on display with the Tom Brady "Deflategate" scandal.

Sherman is now the Seahawks' player representative for the player's union. You can bet he won't be silent when the CBA is up for renewal after the 2020 season.

Copyright 2016 KING


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