Very rarely do people admit they were in the wrong, especially in sports. When was the last time an NBA player committed a foul at a critical juncture and copped to it afterward?
The same is true of NFL players when a flag is thrown. There was never a hold or a pass interference.
In Richard Sherman's case, that's normally true.
Entering Sunday's Week 11 game against the Cardinals, the 49ers cornerback had been flagged just once for pass interference in nine games. But during the 49ers' 36-26 win at Levi's Stadium, Sherman was flagged three times for PI, all coming in the first half.
The first penalty especially was odd because it came on a challenge. Sherman tackled Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk before the ball arrived. There was no flag initially, but the Cardinals challenged and the call was reversed.
Richard Sherman basically tackling Christian Kirk while the ball simultaneously bounces off his helmet is amusing. pic.twitter.com/upYhnJxVyB— Jake Montero (@jakemmontero) November 18, 2019
Overturned pass interference calls have been rare this season, so it made Sherman raise an eyebrow.
Three PI penalties and a nail-biting win over the Cardinals later, Sherman floated an interesting conspiracy theory about the flags tossed his way Sunday, pointing to his position on the NFL Players Association's Executive Committee.
“I had three penalties on the season coming into this game, and to get three in a half is really interesting, especially with the way that the reversals have gone,” Sherman said Sunday in his postgame press conference. “I think there’s been probably over 100 PI challenges this year, and there’s been five, I think, reversals. And I’m two of them.
"I think being an E.C. member and part of that committee has its perks, and then it has its conversations where you’re the only one who gets overturned.
"But it is what it is. You deal with that in this league. I've been here long enough, I've played long enough to realize they call the game like that sometimes and you just got to overcome -- on to the next play, on to the next play, on to the next play. Let them deal with it later on. I'll let the league deal with it. I know the way the system works with referees and how they get the playoffs. They have a point system where they either got it right or they got it wrong, so the league will make the decision and tell me if they are right or wrong."
In fairness to the refs, that first one was 100 percent a penalty.
The 49ers overcame Sherman's penalties and a 16-point deficit to beat the Cardinals and move to 9-1, setting up a massive "Sunday Night Football" showdown with the Packers in Week 12.
If there's another PI reversal that goes against Sherman next week, you can bet he'll get the corkboard out and start trying to put the conspiracy puzzle pieces together.