There was a moment in the NFL version of the Hatfields and McCoys that could have ended the blood feud. It came at the end of the game Sunday, after Seattle's Richard Sherman batted a pass intended for San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree into the arms of a teammate, causing an interception that would seal the victory for the Seahawks, sending them to the Super Bowl.

Sherman walked over to Crabtree with his arm extended as a show of come-togetherness but Crabtree pushed the defender's helmet hard. So goes the way of the most heated and hated rivalry in sports today.

It was this emotion, that shunning of sportsmanship, that was still ringing in the 24-year-old's helmet when he walked off the field and onto national television to call Crabtree "sorry" and he would later add "mediocre

It was the face of Sherman and his dark skin and flailing dreads that had some people take to Twitter to call Sherman a "thug" and a "n--ger."

From behind a computer keyboard and a 140-character-limit wielded by the hands of the ignorant, a 24-year-old Stanford graduate was assaulted with arguably some of the most troubling words in the American lexicon.

This is the battle and the passion and the ugliness of American history played out in violent sport, rolled into a sound bite and then released into the Internet-mosphere. It is a Twitter-sized snapshot of the trouble that white America has with an outspoken black athlete. It was a moment that captured both the hate that the Seahawks and 49ers have for one another on the field and, more importantly, the deep-rooted hate some el when a black man speaks freely about his legacy.

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