MSNBC's Harris-Perry Wants to Personally Protect Richard Sherman’s ‘Brilliant’ Head

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry devoted her entire program to football on Super Bowl Sunday, and over the course of two hours she proved that she is a big fan of brash Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. During a roundtable discussion about head injuries in the NFL, Harris-Perry singled out Sherman’s noggin as especially worthy of protection.

I just want to run up and put my hands around his head and say, ‘Don't let anyone hit it, you’re so brilliant,’” the Tulane professor pronounced. And just why, exactly, does Harris-Perry find Sherman so brilliant?

Is it because he’s been blaming racism for the negative reaction to his rant after the NFC Championship Game? Harris-Perry does have a tendency to obsess over race on her show. She probably considers complaining about racism to be a sign of intelligence.

It’s true that Richard Sherman went to Stanford, a university known for its brilliant graduates. But that makes you wonder if Harris-Perry also wants to personally protect all of the other well-educated NFL players from concussions. Does she want to put her hands around the head of former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck? Or Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate?

The host continued to fret over Sherman’s safety:

There’s this part of me that thinks, you know, a young man of that level of intelligence and capacity –  not that I'm surprised to find him in the NFL. I'm not. But rather that because we know what we know about head injuries, it makes me nervous for his brain in the same way that the battle of Muhammad Ali's life has been what happened in terms of his head injuries.

It sounds like Harris-Perry came close to suggesting that Sherman is above the NFL because of his “intelligence and capacity.” She would like to see him use that brain for a higher purpose. Maybe when he retires, MSNBC will give him a weekend show so he can rail against racism every week, just like Harris-Perry does.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

 

DAVE ZIRIN, The Nation: This is going to lead to the gladatorialization of the sport. Where the people who can afford to go to the games trickles up and the people on the field trickles down. Last year, the four most exciting players in the NFL: Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck.  What do all four of these quarterbacks have in common? They all came from stable, middle-class homes and they played other sports. That’s exactly the kind of player who is not going to play in the NFL in the next generation.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: I’ve gotta tell you, a thousand times as I have been listening, and we'll talk more about Richard Sherman as we go, you know, part of the question we'll ask is the extent to which he is reminiscent of Muhammad Ali from some of his public pronouncements, but the other piece for me is always, I just want to run up and put my hands around his head and say, “Don't let anyone hit it, you’re so brilliant.” There’s this part of me that thinks, you know, a young man of that level of intelligence and capacity –  not that I'm surprised to find him in the NFL. I'm not. But rather that because we know what we know about head injuries, it makes me nervous for his brain in the same way that the battle of Muhammad Ali's life has been what happened in terms of his head injuries.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.