49ers' Richard Sherman criticizes fans booing Andrew Luck's retirement

49ers' Richard Sherman criticizes fans booing Andrew Luck's retirement

SANTA CLARA – Football is no ordinary job.

But 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman wishes people would be more cognizant of the fact that those inside the uniforms are just ordinary people.

“There’s something to be said about the fanship of this game, because that’s obviously what’s elevated our game to be the best sport in America,” Sherman said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“But, at the same time, there is a degree of human that needs to be injected into these fan bases that I think they’re losing touch with. I think every day, every hour, every year, these fan bases are getting further and further from understanding that these are human beings out there playing.”

Sherman, like many around the country, was appalled that former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was booed by his home fans as he left the playing field Saturday night after it became known of his plan to retire.

Luck, 29, had his best season in 2018, and the Colts were considered a team primed for a playoff run.

“Let’s take the helmet off the guy and stop thinking about him as a football player and just think about him as a person,” Sherman said. “His injuries were well-documented. They were well-documented. You could see it. You could see the hits he was taking.

“Imagine you getting into 30 car wrecks and saying, ‘I don’t want to drive any more.’ and people saying, ‘Man, it’s so ridiculous he’s not driving any more.’ Well, he just doesn’t want to get in any more accidents.”

Sherman and Luck were teammates at Stanford University before both became stars in the NFL. Sherman said football players should not be held in any different light than people in other professions -- people who make career decisions in the best interest of their health and their families.

“I want them to separate football and people, just like they would their own jobs,” Sherman said. “I want them to think about them, whatever their occupation is, everybody’s job is important. I don’t care whether you’re a janitor at a high school or the CEO of Google. Everybody’s job is important; everybody’s role is important. And I believe that.

“I don’t know what you’re going through as the janitor at the high school. I don’t know what you’re going through as the CEO, but I think we’re losing the human element of sympathy and empathy.”

Luck explained his decision on Saturday:

"For the last four years or so I've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab -- injury, pain, rehab,” he said. “And it's been unceasing and unrelenting both in-season and offseason. I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football. It's taken my joy of this game away.”

Sherman said part of the problem is how NFL players are viewed -- in their pads and helmets – as individuals who are different from everyone else.

“You may see them as something more than human, but they’re not,” Sherman said. “They’re flesh and blood. They bleed, they break. They have mental struggles. They have the ups and downs just like you do on a day-to-day basis. And I think if more people took that perspective, and took that understanding … then we’d have less people attacking them on social media.”

[RELATED: Andrew Luck deserves praise for seeking happiness]

Luck was forced to sit out the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury. He had been rehabbing an ankle injury throughout the entire offseason and training camp when he made the decision to step away. He left the field for the final time as a member of the Colts to a cascade of boos.

“That situation shook everybody because it showed the ugly part of this sport,” Sherman said. “That’s a man who didn’t just rehab for him and his family, but he rehabbed so he could get back out there for the city of Indianapolis and go help them win games.

“And then to boo him like he was being selfish, when he’s been selfless this whole time, it’s one of those (things) where you’ve given people everything for so long that the moment you take one thing for yourself, you’re a bad guy. He’s given himself to the city and been selfless and taken nothing for himself, and the moment he takes something for himself it’s like he never gave them anything.”

Sun Bowl: Why 49ers, Raiders fans should watch Stanford vs. Pittsburgh


Sun Bowl: Why 49ers, Raiders fans should watch Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

The 49ers and Raiders are both in need of a big wide receiver who is a reliable target in the open field, and especially the red zone. 

And they can look no further than their own backyard. 

When Stanford squares up with Pittsburgh on the morning of New Year's Eve in the Sun Bowl, both Bay Area teams should be watching Cardinal wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside. 

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR (Stanford)

Stanford (8-4) didn't live up to expectations this season by any means. The Cardinal came into the year ranked as the No. 13 team in the country in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. Perhaps the biggest bright spot was Arcega-Whiteside. 

Standing at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, the senior is a touchdown waiting to happen. Throw it up and he'll go get it. 

Going into the Sun Bowl, Arcega-Whiteside is third in the FBS with 14 touchdown receptions in 11 games played. He's done so in one or two games less than the two players ahead of him. 

Arcega-Whiteside was also Pro Football Focus' fourth-ranked wide receiver in college this year. 

On Day 2 of the draft, Jimmy Garoppolo or Derek Carr could get the touchdown target they desperately need.

Here’s how 49ers and Raiders fans can watch Stanford play Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl:

When: Monday, Dec. 31, at 11:00 a.m. PT
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: CBS Sports App

A's All-Star Jed Lowrie reps Stanford on his Players' Weekend cleats


A's All-Star Jed Lowrie reps Stanford on his Players' Weekend cleats

Oakland A's All-Star infielder Jed Lowrie wore cleats inspired by his alma mater to start Players' Weekend, much to the chagrin of a few others in the clubhouse. 

Lowrie, a Stanford alum, wore red shoes bearing the Cardinal's block "S" logo on Friday. He played on "The Farm" for three years, and won the Pac-10 player of the year award in 2004. 

Lowrie, along with outfielder Stephen Piscotty, are the only Stanford alumni in the A's clubhouse. The former Cardinal are outnumbered by their biggest rivals, however, as the A's have three Cal Golden Bears on the roster and the coaching staff: Shortstop Marcus Semien, outfielder Mark Canha, and manager Bob Melvin. 

Melvin told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser that Lowrie's cleats made him nauseous. Canha had an enterprising solution to make his teammate's kicks more palatable. 

The shoes may have made Melvin sick, but Lowrie's performance on Friday probably didn't. He went 1-for-3 at the plate, scoring a run and drawing a walk in Oakland's 7-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.