Nov 3, 2016 8:03 PM

Seahawks' Richard Sherman takes aim at NFL and officials

The Associated Press

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ripped into the NFL on Thursday, questioning the league's officiating and saying the decline in television ratings is due in part to the league simply not being fun anymore.

Sherman touched on a number of topics, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, but most of his ire was directed at NFL officiating. Sherman wasn't so much upset with the officials, but with the rule book that he believes is too challenging.

"You have a bunch of rocket scientists writing rules for a simple game. Like I said before, they say they ask coaches and players about rules and rule changes but they really don't take what they say into account because the game is entirely too difficult to officiate," Sherman said. "To be written by coaches and players, to be influenced by coaches and players, this game would be a lot more simplified for the refs."

Sherman was critical of the calls after Seattle's 25-20 loss to New Orleans last Sunday. The Seahawks were flagged for 11 penalties versus just two for the Saints. A number of those penalties were called on Seattle's secondary. Safety Earl Thomas was flagged for illegal contact, cornerback DeShawn Shead was called for defensive holding that kept a scoring drive alive for New Orleans, and Sherman was called for defensive holding on a key third down in the fourth quarter.

But what seemed to irritate Sherman the most was a pair of possible calls that were not made. New Orleans appeared to twice get away with offensive pass interference in the second half. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he had discussions with the league about the non-calls but would not elaborate.

"There are some other things that happened in that game that we learned from," Carroll said. "Like I told you, I wanted to gain some information on how they discern the action between the receivers and (defensive backs) and what was going on there. It was a good exchange."

Sherman was more than happy to say the league informed the team those plays should have been penalties on the Saints.

"We probably lead the league in NFL apologies the next day," Sherman said.

As for the ratings decline, Sherman said players are allowed to show they are having fun in other leagues but the NFL has regulated that element out of the game.

"Every other league you see players have a good time," he said. "It's a game. This isn't politics. This isn't justice. This is entertainment and they're no longer allowing the players to entertain. They're no longer allowing the players to show any personality. Any kind of uniqueness, any kind of individuality because they want to control the product. They want to control the messaging."

Sherman said he believes it's hypocritical that the league says its crackdown on players having fun is to be good influences for kids.

"That's their biggest ploy is that you don't want to be a bad influence to kids. You don't want to be a bad role model. And I can agree with that," Sherman said. "But in the same breath you can't say Budweiser is the official sponsor of the NFL and we're trying to influence kids. There is a ton of hypocrisy but it doesn't matter because we don't control it."

NOTES: DE Michael Bennett underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a cartilage injury in his right knee. He's expected to be out two to three weeks. ... LT Bradley Sowell (knee) was a limited participant in practice Thursday. If he can't play Monday rookie George Fant will make his second straight start. ... QB Russell Wilson (pectoral/knee) was a full participant in practice after being limited last week due to a pectoral injury.

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For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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