Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Deion Sanders and the American culture problem

Brashness and arrogance are accepted as the norm
Wikimedia Commons

You don’t need to watch college football to know Deion Sanders, the eccentric, unconventional college football coach for the Colorado Buffaloes. Recently, he appeared on 60 Minutes, and The Rock, Offset and Lil Wayne were all in attendance at last week’s game vs. Colorado State. Deion has had articles written about him in The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and the vast majority of this coverage has been incessantly positive.

The most notable incident of the Sanders saga thus far was his controversy with opposing Colorado State Head Coach Jay Norvell before last week week’s game. Norvell commented earlier in the week to the press that he takes his hat and sunglasses off when he talks to grownups, a jab at Sanders, who almost always wears the accessories. Subsequently, Sanders said Norvell “made it personal,” and purchased sunglasses for the whole team. His sunglasses brand, Prime 21, sold 1.2 million dollars on Friday alone.

Sanders represents hard work, individualism and self-expression to the American public. If you follow his team, you will see how they are thought to be one of the hardest-working teams in college football. While people believe the praise Sanders receives is from instilling these values in his team, I believe he provides entertainment that attracts attention. Searching the deep crevices of the internet, I found an article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Mac Engel, the only critical piece on Sanders in an endless jungle of praise. Engel discusses the tendency of Sanders to “rely on bragging, bullying and belittling” those who may question his personality, in addition to refusing to admit when he is wrong.

Ironically, the very people who praise Sanders are the ones who hate Trump, from The Rock to Stephen A. Smith. What that says about America is that it is okay to be an alpha dog entertainer, but it is not okay to be an alpha dog president. That’s fair enough, but I disagree with America. Sanders is no better than anyone else, no matter how many millions he makes off his sunglasses. However, he would like you to think he is, and so would our country.

Sanders is not an essential part of the American identity, but he does represent it. He is a narcissist who hides behind individualism, a hyper-masculine self-proclaimed prophet under the guise of freedom and identity, one of the very few identities accepted or praised. It is the fact that we are okay with this arrogance since he is successful and can back it up. We encourage success, and the fruits of it are the God you get to play. But is he God because he is good at football and knows how to talk, or is he just a man behind the curtain? And if he is the prophet he claims to be, should he be allowed to act this way?

Sanders makes it clear that certain types of entertainment and entertainers are a problem in American culture. It’s the type of entertainment where competition means dehumanization, the WWE-type of entertainment, where the worst kind of selfishness in our nature, the urge to dominate, is met with raucous applause.

Many want to think that entertainment is separate from the Trumps of the world, that it is a superficial release in an otherwise unforgiving society. But Trump got fame on The Apprentice and he is essentially an entertainer. It would be a good idea to be a little more entertainment conscious no matter how entertaining that person may be, so that we don’t get another Trump-like presidency, or even a President Deion Sanders.

Isaac Brickman can be reached at [email protected].

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