Richard Sherman billboard sparks outrage

SHERMAN BILLBOARDFIFE -- He made the game-winning play to push the Seahawks into the Super Bowl. After the game, cornerback Richard Sherman’s comments about opposing players caused a lot of controversy.

Sherman continues to be the Seahawk everyone is focusing on leading into the Super Bowl. But a lot of people in the northwest are now focusing on a billboard in the Seattle-Tacoma area that takes a major shot at Sherman. It’s a digital billboard of Sherman and the words "Zero class."

“It is absolutely inappropriate,” said Rosie Tomyn, one of several Seahawks fan, who took issue with the billboard.

“They zeroed in on one player and one specific moment and put 'zero class,'” said Tomyn. “I think that's where they crossed the line and I don't see that as being OK.”

Emerald Outdoor Advertising, the Spokane company that owns the billboard, has been flooded with complaints. It's manager, Tom Townsend, says he's a Seahawk fan and likes Richard Sherman, but this is business.

“The person who bought the board has the right to put his opinion up,” said Townsend. “He paid $7,200 dollars for that ad.”

A group of 49er fans in San Francisco is behind the ad. They first tweaked Hawks fans with a billboard showcasing the five Super Bowl trophy's won by the 49ers. And those same 49er fans who put up the billboard, have also, along with several Seahawks fans, raised more than $30,000 for Seattle Children's Hospital.

“If I have to take a little heat and the Children's Hospital makes some money, I guess that's my sacrifice and I'll take it.”

Late Thursday afternoon, however, the billboard's owner relented and took the Sherman sign down.  Working with the 49er fans, he put up a sign showing 49er player Navorro Bowman, who suffered a brutal knee injury in the NFC Championship. The sign says he should be defensive player of the year.

The fan group is still hoping to raise $50,000 for Children’s Hospital.