President Obama weighed in on Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, likening the NFL player to iconic boxer Muhammed Ali.
“My sense is he’s taking a page out of Muhammed Ali’s playbook which is, I think he’s said explicitly, this is a good way to get attention. In fact Ali said he got his stick from wrestlers he used to watch,” said Obama in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper which aired on Friday.
Sherman sparked controversy in an emotional interview after helping his team win the NFC title, when he mocked Michael Crabtree of the rival San Francisco 49ers as “mediocre.”
The remarks led many to blast his behavior as unsportsmanlike, with Sherman suggesting that the harsh reaction was in part because of his race.
Obama said that Sherman’s comments were just part of sports tradition.
“I think it’s part of that tradition of you know let me get some attention, obviously it’s worked,” he said. “I suspect he’s going to have a lot more endorsement contracts and I think more jersey sales after that.”
The president also praised Sherman and his rise to the NFL.
“He’s a great cornerback who made a great play and won the game for the Seahawks. He’s is obviously a very smart guy, wonderful story that he came up from Compton went to Stanford, has helped other people graduate and go to college from his old school,” said Obama.
Obama declined to predict the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Seahawks and Denver Broncos.
“I think it’s going to come down to the last play,” said Obama. “I’m not going to pick because I don’t want to offend any of the great cities participating.”