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One man was arrested by cops for driving under the influence, drag racing, and resisting arrest. The other shouted things after a football game. Guess which one was called "dangerous."  

On Thursday morning, Justin Bieber was arrested for driving under the influence, drag racing, and in the police report filed, Bieber allegedly resisted arrest. Some people took it very hard — Beliebers and Nancy Grace to name a few. But the repercussions of Bieber's arrest weren't just felt in elementary and high school classrooms across the country.

Bieber's arrest came on the heels of Richard Sherman's adrenaline-laced post-game interview. The two, Sherman and Bieber, have nothing in common except what's perceived as bad behavior.

But the way people reacted to these two mens' bad behavior was a little different. Bigots weren't afraid to call Sherman slurs, and some that did used coded language, like the word "thug." Several news outlets, as well as Sherman, pointed that out. "The only reason [being called a thug] bothers me is because it seems like it's the accepted way of calling someone the n-word nowadays," Sherman said. 

The way the media is handling both of these stories has inspired a meme, or some permutation of it on the Internet and social media:

The gist: people are writing about Bieber and Sherman differently because of the color of their skin. Granted, people should be writing about them differently because one is under suspicion of breaking the law and endangering lives while the other was mouthing off after a game. 

We decided to look at a few opinions from pundits and columnists across the country to see if the glossing over of Bieber's transgressions and hyperbolic outrage over Sherman's rant was indeed true. We know that finding an awful racist on Twitter is like finding water in the ocean, but we were more concerned with bigger voices.

Here's where you come in: tell us who these quotes were referring to – Bieber or Sherman. Some are from radio broadcasts, others are lines from opinion pieces. Some answers might surprise you.


1. "There's some people so lost in their egos that they really do think that everybody is fascinating with what they're doing and knows intimately everything going on in their life." 


2. "[Sherman/Bieber] is all over the news. He hasn't done anything to anybody."


3. "Research the man's life before you hurl your judgment. I did and actually became a bigger fan."


4. "He's a thug. Some of these are hilarious. I got one in front of me that says 'he can't be a thug, he got good grades.'"


5. "Bad boys need love. But first, they need to fix themselves, before they drag a loved one down with them."


6. "[His] worst behavior could still very well be a rite of passage."


7. "By now most adults are sick of hearing about the shenanigans [of Sherman/Bieber] who's managed to stay in the news lately for all the wrong reasons."


8. "A role model for today's Taliban youth."


9. "[Sherman/Bieber]'s persona is dangerous …"


10. "This seems to be a commentary on our society. The bigger problem is that we are collectively incentivizing this sort of behavior by praising it."

A couple of those surprised us too and proved the meme wrong. Like John Rocker — who would have thought? But you'll notice that there are instances like the difference between the word "shenanigans" and "dangerous"; a "rite of passage" (which is actually in reference to a DUI?) versus a failure of society; "a role model for Taliban youth" and a "bad boy"— that make you wonder who and what we're really talking about when we talk about Sherman and the thug. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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