By Don Banks
January 25, 2015

PHOENIX -- When it comes to Deflategate, I think we can consider Richard Sherman a skeptic. At least in terms of any potential penalties the New England Patriots might incur from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for their alleged misdeeds regarding the under-inflation of game balls in last week’s AFC Championship Game.

"Will they be punished? Probably not," said Sherman with his trademark bluntness on Sunday afternoon, in the Seattle Seahawks’ first media availability of Super Bowl week. "Not as long as [Patriots owner] Robert Kraft and Goodell are still taking pictures [together] at their respective homes. I think he was just at Kraft’s house last week for the AFC Championship. Talk about conflict of interest. You know, as long as that happens, it won’t affect them at all. Nothing will."

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Sherman said the Patriots, Seattle’s Super Bowl opponent in next Sunday’s game, aren't in the position to receive the benefit of the doubt in the controversy over whether they tampered with the footballs their offense used in last Sunday’s 45-7 AFC title game blowout of Indianapolis.

"I think the perception is the reality," said the Seattle star cornerback, speaking from the Seahawks’ team hotel in Phoenix, shortly after the team arrived in Arizona. "It is what it is. Their résumé speaks for itself. You talk about getting close to the line. ... I don’t really have a comment about that, but their past is what their past is, their present is what their present is."

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But Goodell and Kraft weren’t the only ones to draw fire from Sherman. Elected to the Pro Bowl, Sherman obviously missed Sunday’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale due to his Super Bowl participation.

He wasn’t upset about that fact, but he was irked about missing out on the players-only goodies that come with making the Pro Bowl.

"That would [imply] I’m disappointed that I’m in the Super Bowl,’’ said Sherman, when asked if he was disappointed he was missing the Pro Bowl. "No, I’m perfectly fine with being in the Super Bowl. The only thing I’m disappointed in is they won’t give us our gifts from the Pro Bowl. Which is kind of dumb. The NFL is the only league that punishes the players who make the All-Star Game by not giving them their gifts. It’s supposed to be watches and some other stuff, but we don’t get to get them so I couldn’t tell you now."

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