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Originally published Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM

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Editorial: Richard Sherman, and when fans’ trash talk turned ugly

Fans get to run off at the mouth too, but critics of Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman crossed ugly boundaries with their racist rants.

Seattle Times Editorial

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SEATTLE Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s trash talk after the NFC Championship victory went viral, and the Twitter talk went vile.

Few give Sherman a complete pass for his ill-timed, intemperate remarks. But many people acknowledge the ramped-up passions of the moment, combined with ample rations of bruised egos, perceived slights and smoldering off-field feuds.

Fans are allowed to be passionate by definition, with obvious limits. What the gifted All-Pro player did not deserve or invite are the racist taunts and profane abuse he received.

The easy lapse into race-based hatred is indefensible, inexcusable and shameless.

This is about more than reading bigoted innuendo into words like “thug.” Sherman stirred horrific language that was obviously not far below the surface.

Sherman learned a lesson, and the highly regarded Stanford grad will not forget it. Even Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, had only the nicest things to say about Sherman, as the commissioner expressed his displeasure with the incident.

Yes, the media universe had two weeks to kill before the Super Bowl, and Sherman is suffering the consequences. This is the lull when stories about old Super Bowl TV commercials appear.

Sherman’s rant was out of tune with the moment — a big win for the team. The gutter response he triggered is out of step with basic morality and modern times.

No. 25 knows better. His mindless detractors on those ragged extremes do not, and that is deeply disturbing.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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