On Thursday, ESPN's Seth Wickersham dropped a lengthy, reported feature on the Seahawks locker room. He didn't paint a flattering picture, telling a story of a tension-filled locker room with schisms involving Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, the defense as a whole and Pete Carroll. In particular, the story focused on Sherman, who reportedly entertained the idea of leaving Seattle for Dallas or New England.
Later Thursday, Sherman issued his response. He called the story "nonsense."
"It's just a bunch of nonsense from 'anonymous' sources," Sherman told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Can never put much gravity of things like that."
Sherman wasn't the only Seahawk to take offense. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett also ripped ESPN's story.
"This article is trash and should be on TMZ. It's all gossip. I'm surprised this came from you," Bennett wrote in a tweet directed at ESPN.
So, here's the thing: There's plenty of evidence backing the notion that there's tension within the Seahawks locker room. There was the time Sherman blew up on the sidelines and had to be calmed down by his teammates. There was the time Sherman screamed at offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a passing play near the goal line. There was the time Carroll had to hold an hour-long meeting with Sherman about the incident. And let's not forget about the Seahawks admitting to being open to trading Sherman this offseason.
Yes, Wickersham -- one of the best reporters and writers on the NFL beat -- used anonymous sources. But let's not pretend like that's an uncommon practice in journalism. Just because a source is anonymous doesn't mean the source is lying. That's not how it works.
It's also not surprising to see the Seahawks come out and denounce this story. What else are they supposed to say? It's not as if they would admit to disliking their quarterback and how their coach treats him.
Here's one example of the tension Wickersham reported on in his story:
One day, Sherman walked into a team meeting and found rookie guard Germain Ifedi sitting at a desk. That's a no-no. Rookies sit on the floor; veterans get the desks. Sherman lorded over him, but Ifedi did what Sherman might have done as a rookie: He stayed at the desk.
Finally, Sherman broke: "Get up." Ifedi stood up and knocked over the desk, tossing it aside. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Ifedi stared at the 6-3, 195-pound Sherman as if ready to throw down. Ifedi eventually stepped aside, but Sherman later told friends that he saw the incident as emblematic of a bigger problem. The offense, led by Wilson, was in the midst of a season in which it would score fewer than 13 points five times, but the only players being held to the lofty standard created by the defense were the members of it.