What’s the story behind Sherman’s beef with Crabtree?

The Crabtree-Sherman feud came to a head on Sunday night.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

OK, we get it. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman doesn’t think highly of 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, as was evident during Sherman’s rant to FOX reporter Erin Andrews after Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

Here it is again, just in case you missed it.

But why? Where did the bad blood between the two players start? The Seattle Times shed some light on the issue on Sunday night.

Sherman apparently has had it in for Crabtree since the two took part in Larry Fitzgerald’s charity golf tournament in Arizona last summer. Sherman went to shake Crabtree’s hand and the latter tried to start a fight, according to Sherman’s brother Branton.

"I’m going to make a play and embarrass him," Sherman said that day.

Well, he did.

Sherman explained his actions from Sunday night in a column he penned for Sports Illustrated on Monday.

"I ran over to Crabtree to shake his hand but he ignored me. I patted him, stuck out my hand and said, ‘Good game, good game.’ That’s when he shoved my face, and that’s when I went off.

Erin Andrews interviewed me after the game and I yelled what was obvious: If you put a subpar player across from a great one, most of the time you’re going to get one result. As far as Crabtree being a top-20 NFL receiver, you’d have a hard time making that argument to me. There are a lot of receivers playing good ball out there, and Josh Gordon needed 14 games to produce almost double what Crabtree can do in a full season. And Gordon had Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell playing quarterback.

But that’s not why I don’t like the man. It goes back to something he said to me this offseason in Arizona, but you’d have to ask him about that. A lot of what I said to Andrews was adrenaline talking, and some of that was Crabtree. I just don’t like him.

It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am. I don’t want to be a villain, because I’m not a villainous person. When I say I’m the best cornerback in football, it’s with a caveat: There isn’t a great defensive backfield in the NFL that doesn’t have a great front seven. Everything begins with pressure up front, and that’s what we get from our pass rushers every Sunday. To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — €”don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family."

So, there’s that. Sherman also went on to address a report that a few Seahawks fans threw popcorn at 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman as the latter was being carted off the field with a severe leg injury.

"One thing I can’t accept is what I read after the game about Seahawks fans throwing food at 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman as he was being carted off the field with his knee injury. If it’s true, it’s beyond terrible. That’s as low as it gets. I’m sure whoever did this is in a small minority of fans, because I don’t think that kind of action is an accurate representation of the character of the 12th man. NaVorro Bowman is a great player who plays the game the right way. When he went down, I dropped to a knee and prayed for him. He deserves better than having food thrown at him as he’s carted off a field. All players deserve better than that."

This story is unlikely to go away over the next two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. And of course, this issue will continue to be a divisive one for fans.