The next move in #HandshakeGate has happened.
49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, appearing Wednesday on The Pat McAfee Show, has expressed regret for the erroneous claim that Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield snubbed Sherman prior to the coin toss on Monday night. But the regret comes with a caveat.
“It’s definitely my bad,” Sherman told McAfee. “I never want anybody to deal with some sh-t that — I mean some some stuff — that they didn’t do. And so, you know, the questions that he’s gonna get and the annoying, nonsense questions about some stuff that happened in a game that’s already been done, you know, sure he’ll get an apology for that. I’ll probably reach out to him via text or social media to actually get ahold of him and talk to him in person, I mean on the phone. But, yeah, because that sucks. . . . But yeah, yeah. He definitely deserves an apology, and my bad on that.”
McAfee asked Sherman whether he would have worded things differently if he had a chance to redo the discussion with Mike Silver of NFL Media.
“I may have phrased it differently, but I meant what I said,” Sherman said. “I did feel the disrespect. . . . I felt disrepect and at the end of the day that’s all the story was, really. Like, people can say, ‘Oh my God, he shook your hand’ or ‘Oh my God you were wrong.’ You can say whatever you want. I don’t give a damn.”
But the truth continues to be that Sherman claimed Mayfield refused to shake Sherman’s hand, that Sherman doubled and tripled down on that contention after the initial videos that didn’t prove him wrong first emerged, and that Sherman only admitted that the handshake happened (and began deleting tweets to the contrary) once it was clear that the handshake did indeed occur.
And as it relates to actual or perceived disrespect, it’s just as easy to say that Sherman disrespected Mayfield. As Simms pointed out on PFT Live, Sherman didn’t seem to be all that enthused about interacting with Mayfield, either.
Regardless, Sherman apologized, as he should have. Whether NFL Media apologizes for posting those false claims without properly vetting them or seeking comment from Mayfield or the Browns and then failing to revise the story for roughly three hours after the truth emerged remains to be seen.
It also remains to be seen how Mayfield addresses the issue with reporters. He’s due to meet with reporters today.
And then there’s Sherman’s next media availability. He won’t want to be grilled on the subject, and if he gets asked a bunch of “annoying, nonsense questions” on a topic that he surely won’t want to discuss, he could get angry.
Maybe angry enough to threaten to ruin a reporter’s career.