Richard Sherman speaks on mental health stigma that prevented him from asking for help

After signing with Tampa Bay, Sherman says he was “proud” to ask for help after arrest.

Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman signed to the Super Bowl-defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday and during a press conference candidly addressed his private mental health struggles which culminated in his July arrest in Redmond.

In July, Sherman was arrested after trying to break into his in-laws house. Before arriving at the house, he allegedly wrecked and abandoned his car in a construction site. Police believed he was intoxicated and took blood samples to test his blood alcohol levels.

During the incident Sherman threatened harm to himself before he had to be subdued, according to police records. Additional reports indicate that Sherman was issued an Extreme Risk Protection Order by the King County Sheriff’s Office after family members noticed him expressing intent to harm himself.

ERPO’s are a legal tool used to prevent an individual considered to be in crisis from having a firearm they could use to harm themselves or others. Sherman’s guns were reportedly confiscated, effectively preventing what could have been a very public mental health tragedy.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed five misdemeanor charges against him on July 16, including driving while under the influence, reckless endangerment of roadway workers, resisting arrest, criminal trespassing domestic violence, and malicious mischief domestic violence. Sherman pleaded not guilty to all charges.

“I am deeply remorseful for my actions on Tuesday night. I behaved in a manner I am not proud of,” Sherman wrote in a statement on his Twitter account after his court appearance. “I have been dealing with some personal challenges over the last several months, but that is not an excuse for how I acted. The importance of mental and emotional health is extremely real and I vow to get the help I need.”

During Sherman’s initial press conference with the Buccaneers, he seemed in good spirits, and did not shy away from talking about the “silver lining” of that incident.

“Obviously that was a real unfortunate situation and, you know, regrettable,” he said when asked about his head space. “But it led to some really positive changes.”

Among those changes was help, therapy and tools to “address things that you kind of let stack-up in your mind.” He said often it felt like it was never “the right time” to deal with the feelings and emotions.

“It really forced me to step back and go ask for help,” he said. “And to not be afraid, to be proud to ask.”

Sherman said he was never taught to talk about feelings and emotions, or seek help, rather felt like he had to “tough it out,” “deal with it,” or to move on to the next play.

It has been remarkable how many people have said they have the same issue,” Sherman said. “Because you always feel like you are alone, you always feel like ‘Aye man, I’m the only one dealing with this.”

He said he never wanted to feel like he was burdening the ones he was closest to with his feelings and what he felt like were his problems to deal with alone. But now, Sherman says he feels like he has a great support system in his wife and family, as well as the new organization he will play for, which he said the staff has been “aware” and very helpful regarding the new positive changes in his life.