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Seahawks' Sherman says NFL lags behind NBA on race issues

A worker walks on a stage in front of the NFL logo in New York's Times Square

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A worker walks on a stage in front of the NFL logo in New York's Times Square January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Mike …

(Reuters) - Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said the National Football League leadership lags behind the NBA in combating racism within its ranks.

Sherman contrasted the broad opposition to the use of the Washington franchise's nickname "Redskins" and lack of action by NFL officials, to the way the National Basketball Association reacted to racist remarks attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Sherman, in an interview with Time Magazine, said he does not believe that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would stand up to an owner the way his NBA counterpart, Adam Silver, did when he banned Sterling for life for making racist comments.

"No, I don't," said Sherman, who later expanded on his view.

"Because we have an NFL team called the Redskins, I don't think the NFL really is as concerned as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom-line league.

"If it doesn't affect their bottom line, they're not as concerned."

Sherman, who this week became the NFL's highest paid cornerback when he signed a $57.4 million contract extension with the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, said the league already botched its handling of the controversy over the use of the Washington name, which is considered a slur by many Native Americans.

The NFL has said the issue surrounding the Redskins nickname was a matter for the team to resolve.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Steve Keating)

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