Richard ShermanRichard Sherman‘s rant after Sunday night’s NFC Championship Game brought on plenty of criticism from media outlets around the country. The word “thug” was used most frequently when describing Sherman’s postgame digs at San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Sherman was one of the Seahawks’ featured players during Wednesday’s media access in Seattle, and the All-Pro cornerback’s rant was, obviously, the primary topic of interest. However, while apologizing for taking attention away from his teammates and somewhat embarrassing the organization, Sherman also addressed the “thug” reputation some in the mainstream media have cast upon him.

“I know some ‘thugs,’ and they know I’m the furthest thing from a thug. I’ve fought that my whole life, just coming from where I’m coming from. Just because you hear Compton, you hear Watts, you hear cities like that, you just think ‘thug, he’s a gangster, he’s this, that, and the other,’ and then you hear Stanford, and they’re like, ‘oh man, that doesn’t even make sense, that’s an oxymoron.’

“You fight it for so long, and to have it come back up and people start to use it again, it’s frustrating.”

Sherman, who grew up in Compton, Calif., one of the roughest areas in the country, has been constantly criticized during his three-year career for trash talking opponents and behaving rather cocky both on and off the field. He seemed frustrated by the thought that his background or race might be a factor in that description, even saying that the term “thug” is just another racial epithet.

“The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays. Because they know,” Sherman added.

Sherman went on for a few minutes in the presser. Check out No. 25’s comments in the video below.

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