February 2, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NFL former player Deion Sanders during the Tazon Latino VI flag football game as part of Super Bowl XLVI festivities at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
One of my least favorite Dallas Cowboy’s players of all time would have to be Deion Sanders. As much as I appreciate his contribution to the ’96 Cowboy’s Super Bowl victory, I will never see him as a real Dallas Cowboy, or feel about him the way I will always feel about Smith, Aikman, and Irvin.
Okay, I realize that’s being a bit unfair, because honestly there will be very few Cowboy’s that will ever hold a place in our hearts like the triplets.
To be more blunt, Deion Sanders is nothing better than a mercenary who has no ties or loyalties to anyone but himself. He’s the NFL version of a hired gun, a man who works for himself, riding from town to town collecting a paycheck without putting down any roots or developing any meaningful relationships.
But that’s not my real problem with Sanders, or more accurately….it’s not one of the major problems I have with him.
I can’t tolerate Deion’s constant trashing of the Dallas Cowboys. The team accounts for exactly one half of his Super Bowl rings and he can’t seem to find a single positive thing to say when speaking about them.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that just because you won a championship with a team means you should overlook all their faults and have nothing but good things to say about them for the rest of your career (I realize Michael Irvin has done that, and I can’t say I mind). You can be a bit more objective about it like Troy Aikman. I respect Troy’s opinions when asked about the current Cowboy’s team. I feel like he answers honestly, although occasionally steering a bit on the critical side, but it comes off as a man trying to be sure that he is not seen as partial.
Sanders’ speaks about the Cowboys like he hates them. He overlooks the positive and focuses purely on the negative, tearing off hateful comments like a disgruntled Martellus Bennett.
Of the many problems I have with Sanders, the biggest by far is his attempting to present himself as this mentor, this selfless leader of boys and men, while his actions very much show the opposite.
Take for example his interactions and impacts on Dez Bryant and his career.
Sanders set up meetings with Bryant and agents through himself, while Bryant was prohibited from such interaction by NCAA rules. Sanders knew this, as well did Bryant. The difference being that Dez was an impressionable young man with very little guidance, and Deion was a retired hall of famer that would have substantial influence on any young NFL hopeful.
How easy would it have been to talk Bryant into something that he knew he wasn’t supposed to do? Can’t you almost hear what very possibly were Deion’s words to Dez? “Come on man, it’s okay. Everybody does it…you can trust me”.
Now why would Deion try to set Bryant up with an agent, knowing the risk it presented for Dez, and knowing sports agents would be climbing over each other to get to him whenever Bryant was able to meet in accordance with NCAA rules? I can only assume that it held some benefit, likely financial, for Sanders.
So Dez gets caught and thereby has to forfeit the rest of his 2009 season, a year that many considered him to be in contention for the Heisman. This would also cost Bryant to drop several places in the draft, losing him significant money in his first contract and signing bonus, and labeling him as a trouble maker before he even puts on an NFL uniform. Deion would walk away unscathed.
So Sanders had to feel bad right? He selfishly tried to pimp a young athlete out for his own gain, and cost said athlete dearly. You would assume that both Bryant and Sanders had learned their lessons and would steer clear of each other moving forward.
Unfortunately not, as Deion would go on to feed his uncanny greed and selfishness and Bryant would prove to be too trusting for his own good.
Sanders continued to call himself a “mentor” to Bryant, despite the damage he had already done to Dez’s career.
This goes on for a bit, until suddenly Deion begins blasting Bryant publicly, in almost any available venue. Sanders states that he will have nothing to do with Bryant, that he is dishonest man, and that he refuses to work with people like him. He goes on to say that Bryant needs serious help, but that he is not going to get it from him.
I found myself wondering what on earth could have happened that made Deion so angry? What manner of betrayal had Bryant concocted against this self-proclaimed “mentor” that would lead to this end?
Then Dez offered up the only possible explanation in his mind, and the events leading up to Sanders absolute withdrawal and sudden defamation of Bryant’s character. It seems that Deion was not so gently pushing Bryant toward an endorsement deal with Under Armour, an endorsement deal that Dez was open to, until discovering that the shoes didn’t fit his feet correctly.
Bryant’s deal with Under Armour would not be possible, and suddenly Sanders can no longer “mentor” someone so dishonest and of poor moral character.
That’s twice that Sanders attempted to exploit Dez for his own personal gain, and I guess in the house of Deion if you fail to bring the money in twice, he is officially done with you.
Good riddance. Sanders will never be a real Cowboy to me, and he has an astonishing amount of nerve calling himself a “mentor” while doing nothing but exploiting others, including damaging their careers and reputations to line his own pockets.
He speaks as though he hates the Cowboys. I hope he does, and in turn…stays as far away as possible.