The free-agent N.F.L. cornerback Richard Sherman pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanors in a brief appearance in King County (Wash.) District Court on Friday. Sherman was arrested early Wednesday morning after, the police said, he drunkenly crashed his car in a construction zone and tried to break through the door to the home of his in-laws in Redmond, Wash., a suburb east of Seattle.
Prosecutors charged Sherman with driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, malicious mischief, criminal trespass and resisting arrest. The first three are gross misdemeanors, which can bring punishments of up to 364 days in jail, while the last two are misdemeanors, which can lead to up to 90 days in jail.
Across three hours on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Sherman argued with his wife, drank multiple bottles of alcohol, threatened to kill himself, drove while drunk to his in-laws’ house and tried to break down the door in search of his children, according to police statements and 9-1-1 calls. Multiple police officers and a police dog eventually subdued him, and the police arrested Sherman a little after 2 a.m. Wednesday.
“I am deeply remorseful for my actions on Tuesday night,” Sherman, 33, said in a statement Friday. He added that he has been “dealing with some personal challenges over the last several months, but that is not an excuse for how I acted.”
According to the NFL Network, friends of Sherman’s have been aware of his struggles and have visited him during the off-season. In a 9-1-1 call Tuesday evening, Sherman’s wife, Ashley, told the dispatcher that he had sent text messages to multiple friends saying he would kill himself.
In February, according to court records, the King County Sheriff’s Office obtained an “extreme risk protection order” against Sherman, which prohibited him from possessing firearms. The petition is sealed, so it is not clear what prompted it. A court commissioner, when sealing the protection order, wrote that Sherman’s mental health was “currently in crisis,” according to The Seattle Times.
In a hearing on Thursday, prosecutors asked for Sherman’s bail to be set at $10,000, but Judge Fa’amomoi Masaniai released Sherman on a promise to return for future court hearings, noting that he was a first-time offender.
After Sherman pleaded not guilty Friday, Judge Lisa Paglisotti ordered that he not consume any alcohol or drugs that were not prescribed for him, and that he not have “harmful or offensive” contact with Raymond Moss, his father-in-law.
According to a statement Moss gave to the police, he retrieved his gun and sprayed pepper spray at Sherman as his son-in-law was trying to break down the door.
Sherman, a 10-year N.F.L. veteran, played his first seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and kept a home in Maple Valley, Wash., even after he joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. He spent much of past season on the injured reserve list.
He became a free agent at the end of the 2020 season.