If you’re in the US and happened to be watching the NFL last night and keeping an eye on social media, you might have noticed this exchange on Twitter.
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere is a rabid Seattle Seahawks fan despite being a Massachusetts native; T-Mobile is primarily based in Bellevue, Washington, just outside of Seattle. And Richard Sherman is the Seahawks’ star cornerback.
Sherman was (again) instrumental in Seattle’s thrilling and improbable victory over the Green Bay Packers, which earned the Seahawks its second straight trip to the SuperBowl, the NFL’s highly extravagant championship game, in about two weeks. They will face the New England Patriots.
In the early going, Sherman made a crucial (and ridiculously difficult) interception that prevented the Packers from scoring. He went on to play most of the game despite a debilitating elbow injury.
Sherman is widely regarded as the best cornerback in the NFL, a position that involves disrupting the most spectacular offensive plays. But he arguably is even better known for being a highly proficient trash-talker.
And this is probably what appeals to Legere, who, uncharacteristically for the staid industry in which he operates, is very fond of directly calling out and criticizing his rivals in the wireless business, among other stunts. He also likes to disrupt his rivals.
This time a year ago, Sherman’s thunderous and highly entertaining post-game interview, following another important Seahawks victory in which he also played a critical role, set off a mini-media storm. (For the best take on that, we recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates’ from our sister site The Atlantic.)
Not only does Sherman back up his talk (which, unlike Legere’s, typically contains no profanities) with action, he is a role model to many. His roots are humble. He’s the son of a sanitation worker and a teacher, and grew up in Compton, California, a tough section of Los Angeles County. He went on to graduate from Stanford University with a 3.9 GPA and is now a highly dedicated professional.
It’s easy to see why this appeals to Legere and (sorry, Patriots fans) why it should appeal to Americans broadly.