Seattle Seahawks player and Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman has had his fair share of controversy in the league. Despite a Stanford degree, his upbringing in L.A.’s mean streets meant some labeled him a thug even before his now famous post-game playoff outburst. But he wants the world to know new Washington Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson is not a bad guy.

And he should know. He’s known him since childhood, when they played sports together.

In his column appearance for SI.com, Sherman says that while he doesn’t know everything that DeSean is into, he doesn’t think the media is giving him a fair evaluation considering how far he’s come from the challenges of his childhood.

I grew up in Watts, and I played baseball with DeSean in elementary school on a team coached by his father near Inglewood. His father, Bill, picked me up from elementary school 30 minutes away from his home for practice and games because my parents both worked and didn’t finish until later, and I wanted to play baseball with some childhood friends.

Bill was a great coach, and a great man. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, the summer after his son’s rookie season. DeSean and I didn’t hang out then like we did as kids.

Those men with DeSean in the social pictures and the police reports weren’t his closest friends in childhood, but when his father died and few people were there for him, they were there. When a tragic event like that happens, the people who are around are the people who are around, and they were there for him.”
Read Sherman’s column in its entirety here.

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