Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has seen himself branded a 'thug' following an incredible tirade after victory against the San Francisco 49ers last weekend, but it is an accusation he is not willing to accept.
Sherman launched into a stunning post-game attack after the Seahawks had booked their place in the SuperBowl, and his actions have drawn analysis from all and sundry in the days following.
But, according to Sherman, 'thug' has become an accepted method of calling a person the 'n-word' and has expressed his disappointment at this label being attributed to him by a number of critics.
He can, though, count on some high-profile support following the criticism that has been levelled at him in recent days, with NBA superstar LeBron James rejecting the assertion levelled at Sherman.
LeBron tweeted: "I don't know one "thug" that graduated from Stanford and also working on their Masters! Dont [sic] judge a book by its cover."
The Miami Heat icon has made his affection for the Seahawks clear over the course of the season so far and is hoping they are able to emerged triumphant from the championship game against the Denver Broncos next weekend.
He added: "Keep going ham on the field @RSherman_25! Best of luck in the SuperBowl dude."