Richard Sherman Laments Anonymous Sources and the Effect on Journalism

By Jason Lisk

Richard Sherman spoke about some of the offseason drama in Seattle at his post-practice news conference last night. Sherman was linked to trade rumors earlier this offseason, and Seth Wickersham had a story about Richard Sherman and his volatile relationship with Russell Wilson.

Sherman denied wanting a trade, called his relationship with Russell Wilson “fantastic.” and also decried the fake stories about the team using anonymous sources. “In order to tell a story, you have to create a rhetoric, create a story,” Sherman said of Wickersham’s piece. He also contrasted the use of anonymous sources with players speaking directly. “Everything we say as players, we put our name on it.”

"When you live in the new landscape of media, great reporters and great journalists have a hard time making a living, because they can create great stories about guys and their backgrounds, about a competitive team that goes at it every day, Pete’s philosophy, etc., etc., but it wouldn’t get a lot of clicks because it’s not controversial enough."

Part of that is true. Having anonymous sources and juicy quotes on controversial issues certainly draws clicks. Not using them is a handicap to garnering outsized attention.

However, journalism includes telling the stories that those in power don’t want told. It means going beyond the carefully crafted sound bytes and the official statements from the team. And I know Sherman cannot actually believe that players put their name on everything they say on a reporter. Where do the “sources” come from? Players, coaches, front office, and league officials.

So yes, the use of anonymous sources can be abused, but it also serves a purpose. Without out, you would get only what someone wanted you to hear.