Outspoken Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been named to Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people for 2014.
While Sherman came to national attention initially for his post-game rant about 49ers cornerback Michael Crabtree, it was how he handled the backlash that landed him on the list.
"When critics labeled the dreadlocked defensive star a "thug," Sherman, a Compton, Calif.-raised Stanford graduate, engaged the debate, asking if the term was today's way of calling him the N word?" writes Sean Gregory with Time.
With Sherman's willingness to speak out, he inspired a larger conversation about race and stereotyping. Just this Wednesday, Sherman had a discussion about race with students at Harvard. Speaking of all that resulted from his infamous post-game rant, he said:
"I don't regret anything about it," though he later conceded it was a "bad moment." ''I chose my words very carefully, though I couldn't control my tone. My delivery left something to be desired. But I knew what I was doing. When they called me a 'thug,' I provoked a discussion."
As well as noting his accomplishments on the football field, Gregory commended Sherman for not shying away from social issues.
"Keep talking, Sherm. We have much more to learn," Gregory says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
You might also want to read: