Stoke's ex-Hammer goes back to Upton Park today for the first time and thinks Sullivan was bang out of order for publicly criticising the team after the 3-1 home defeat by Wolves.
Etherington, 28, said: "It doesn't help. I can tell you that. You've got to let the players and the manager get on with it. That's what they're employed for, it's what they're paid to do. I'm sure after the game there were a lot of things said, and rightly so.
"When you put in those kind of performances and you get beaten like that you have to dig deep. I personally don't think it helps when the chairman comes out like that. You let the manager get on with the football and the chairman with running the club.
"I don't think it would help as a player if you hear the chairman coming out with those things, lambasting the players. It piles on the pressure and they're under enough as it is.
"I don't know the owners and they have saved West Ham when they were in a lot of trouble. I'm sure they have the club's best interests at heart.
"The fans vented their anger and rightly so, they pay their money. Look at the spine of the team, Rob Green, Matty Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole. That's a top-half team. I'm just gutted to see them where they are."