6 Money Lessons from Seattle’s Trash-Talking Cornerback, Richard Sherman

The outspoken football player is known for much more than trash talk. We can all learn from him.

Who is this Richard Sherman, whose TV interview rant after the NFC championship game has gotten so much media attention?

Is he just a trash-talking football player who can’t keep his trap shut? (He has apologized, by the way.)


Sherman is a thoughtful young man who brings the intellect and intense preparation to football that Peyton Manning, Sherman’s opponent in the Super Bowl, is so famous for.

In fact, stories from Sherman’s life contain important personal finance lessons that can apply to anyone. I gleaned them from a Sports Illustrated profile of Sherman that first appeared in July.

1. Paying your kids for good grades can help motivate them

His mom, Beverly Sherman, paid him $5 for every A on his report card and $3 for B’s. He graduated second in his high school class with a grade point average of 4.2, just a tiny bit behind the valedictorian.

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good education

SI says Sherman was very vocal even in high school, with a special motivating message for the other guys on his team: “He was an academic snob who saved his most biting remarks for those who ditched classes or failed exams.”

3. In fact, make education your top priority

University of Southern California football coach Pete Carroll, while recruiting Sherman, “had to wait 2½ hours in the football offices [at Sherman’s high school] because his recruit had refused to duck out of an advanced placement course.” Sherman went to Stanford instead, where he graduated with a degree in communications in 2010.

4. Volunteering broadens your outlook and experience

His mom works for California Children’s Services, and sometimes he’d go with her to work. “There, at the rehabilitation center next to her office in Downey, he spent summer days completing math problems and building block towers with kids suffering from muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy,” SI says.

5. Intense preparation can trump natural ability

Sherman says he’s not the best athlete on the field, so he compensates by being better prepared. His attention to detail is remarkable. You can see that very clearly in this YouTube video.

6. Self-promotion isn’t necessarily a bad thing

“Things I do probably look like madness, like I’m totally out of control, but there’s always a plan,” Sherman told SI. “It’s part of a greater scheme to get some eyes, to grow the market, to grow Seattle. Now people are paying attention, and they’ll probably be disappointed this year because I will be a lot more reserved.”

SI adds, “Time will tell if such restraint is possible.”

What’s your take on the Sherman post-game controversy? Did he misbehave outrageously or is the reaction overblown? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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  • Max Brandon

    Other than coming from a herky-jerky/spasmodic ego-centric disrespectful in-your-face loud-mouth who evidences not being able to take the pressure of the Big Biz World-Level Sports spotlight – these six “tips” represent nothing new.

    Very poor way to gain notoriety: the kid dug himself a needless hole from which he’ll need to extricate himself in order to move forward.

    Worse: he’s impaired his team in numerous ways.

    Gratuitous sensationalistic article is a near complete-waste of e-space & time ….

  • Benjamin Galvan

    Elizabeth—You are starting to sound like Sherman. I agree with him and you that education is the most important thing. However, education sometimes tells us to keep our mouth shut. Refuse to talk to the media until the soul calms down. I applaud him for the things he has accomplished both on and off the field. But, what he did was hurt himself and his team and for that he will have to answer for.

  • Kalena Young

    The most physical game of football I’ve seen this year – someone hurt on almost every play. He makes it through the game without getting hurt and makes the winning play – so let him show his excitement.
    What I take issue with is the NUMEROUS replay of injuries – a sports writer called it “injury porn” and I have to agree. It’s too much.

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