It is time now to enter the depths of Handshakeghazi.
Last night, after 49ers embarrassed the Browns in Santa Clara and reveled in the destruction of Baker Mayfield, Niners cornerback Richard Sherman told NFL.com that Mayfield snubbed him in the captain’s pregame handshake line. He was real pissed off about getting slighted, a sentiment shared by his teammate DeForest Buckner. Here is Sherman’s quote on the matter:
“What’s amazing, and annoying, was him not shaking hands at the beginning,” Sherman said, “That’s some college shit. It’s ridiculous. We’re all trying to get psyched up, but shaking hands with your opponent—that’s NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush league stuff, that’s disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that’s gonna get us fired up.”
As fans began to interrogate Sherman’s claims this morning, a number of videos have complicated the matter. We begin with the following angle, which shows Sherman leaning in towards Mayfield as the line of Niners players moves left.
A better angle from behind Mayfield shows the Browns QB clearly shaking Sherman’s hand.
Sherman doubled down this afternoon, going after Browns fans for accusing him of making up his story. He fired off a few tweets, which are now deleted, claiming, “He didn’t shake my hand.” The close-up video seems initially to disprove that, but more footage from midfield showed that Mayfield immediately sprinted away from the congregation after the coin toss. This means he did snub Sherman, but only after shaking his hand earlier.
Sherman (or possibly the parody account accidentally tagged instead) told Albert Breer today that Mayfield’s offense was indeed running away from the second handshake. That seems like a minor offense, in light of the revelation that Mayfield didn’t repeatedly ignore Sherman and did shake his hand, but I suppose it was sufficiently motivating for the 49ers defense.
So there you have it. Baker Mayfield shook Richard Sherman’s hand, and also he did not. This is a perfectly circular disagreement, and it’s too bad these two teams don’t get to play each other again this season, robbing us all of a suitably dumb on-field conclusion.