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Old 09-12-2019, 11:59 PM   #21
Cobra Mgr
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The different ways the media treated Barry Sanders as opposed to Andrew Luck
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:39 AM   #22
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I think the article did a great job of explaining why the reaction to Luck's retirement was so much different that the reaction to Sanders'. The writer notes important differences:

"To be sure, there are differences in the circumstances. Sanders retired with a fax and immediately took off for Europe; Luck held an emotional news conference, an opportunity to explain his decision. Sanders enjoyed a mostly healthy career; Luck battled an array of injuries and was facing another setback this summer. Sanders was notoriously enigmatic with the press; Luck, owner of a flip phone and a sponsor of book clubs, was a favorite of reporters."

This paragraph pretty much sums it up:

"Albom, in an email, wrote: “It’s true, today, I think all sportswriters are more sensitive to issues like concussions, quality of life, and are not surprised — and perhaps less judgmental — when NFL players decide enough is enough. In fact, a number have retired now, including Andrew Luck, at a younger age than Barry Sanders. It’s worth noting that Barry never suffered such injuries nor did he express concern for his health as a reason for his retirement. He just walked away. To this day, fans are unsure as to why. My column 20 years ago reflected how the city felt upon his sudden unexplained departure via a fax. I think the way Luck has done it leaves no question as to his reasons, and in my mind, warrants no criticism. Had Barry done it the same way, I believe most Detroiters would have accepted it immediately and celebrated him and his career.”"

It's a free country. Barry was free to handle his interactions with others and his retirement they way he did, just as Luck was free to handle his the way he did. Simply put, you reap what you sow.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:40 AM   #23
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Granted, I am not a Lions fan but I was on Sanders' side back then. Perhaps my memory is fuzzy but I seem to recall having a sense back then that the Lions were jerking him around over contract or personel issues or commitment to winning and I remember thinking that if a guy with as much class as Barry, who had such an amazing career wasn't being treated well, he was right to just leave.

He left football the way he ended spectacular plays, hand the ball to the ref and move on. Good for you Barry.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:34 PM   #24
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No one was jerking Barry around. Barry was never motivated solely by money. One time the Lions' accounting office couldn't figure out why their figures @ the end of the month were off by 7 figures. They were panicking trying to come up with whatever numbers they were missing. Then they realized the number mirrored Barry's signing bonus. They called him up to find out what happened. He said he hadn't gotten around to depositing it yet. He put it in his sock drawer.

Barry also wasn't a diva to start putting pressure on the organization about personnel. He famously asked Wayne Fontes to put in the backup with a win solidly in place. Despite gaining over 150 yds & being just 10 yds short of the rushing title. Barry wasn't about himself.

Which goes to Barry being "enigmatic" with the press. There was nothing mysterious in how he handled the media. He didn't think any individual should garnish undue attention. Especially in a team sport. Why else do we think he just handed the ball to the ref after a TD? He was doing his job, not seeking the limelight. How many commercial and ads did you see him doing during his career?

The "problem" was that Barry didn't cower & cater to the media like they wanted. The media has an agenda. They will never call out an individual from their ranks, but they will zero in on any perceived indiscretion from a player. Especially when it comes to how the media goes about their business. Let a player call out the media then turn on any sports radio or TV talk show to hear every loudmouth near the microphone defend their industry and colleagues. Oh, sure they will wax on about how humble a player is. Thru grinding teeth. The truth is they want a star to want to be a star. Cause that means access. They want a Pete Rose or Jerry Jones who always have time for a camera lens. They don't truly want a quiet, unassuming, every day Joe. Barry was consistent. He wasn't going to seek out the microphone when it was convenient, then shun it when it was not. He stuck to his principles.

That's the real reason why the press treated Barry & Andrew differently. Why the reaction was so different.

The truth is Barry told the Lions he was planning to retire after his final game. The career rushing record meant nothing to him. The Lions were just hoping he'd change his mind. And Barry delayed the final decision because they always say everyone wants to retire when the season ends. Then they get the itch once the next season nears. Barry was not the 1st to take this approach. But Detroit had been given a heads up. They had time to prepare. When mini camp came, he wasn't there. The Lions still didn't get the hint. Then when training camp comes, he announces he is through and the Lions organization acts like they are blind-sided.

The media? They were upset because they didn't get a chance to be there to report the moment. Instead, Barry sent his local paper a letter. In other words, before Twitter, before Instagram, before the Player's Tribune, before the way a player's personal news message was in a player's hands, Barry's message was in his hands. Before they could get the next exclusive Barry went on vacation. No doubt on purpose. Because, again, Barry never wanted attention. It is amazing the same reporters who praised Barry for not being a show off, somehow found his unassuming retirement announcement "evil". Their collective subconscious mind saw their exaggerated opinion of their importance castrated. Jealousy, fear, paranoia about their place in landscape.

Barry never surprised Detroit. Luck surprised Indy. Barry never told Detroit when it was too late to make changes. Luck did so to the Colts. Barry's decision didn't speak negatively to his character. But Luck's did.

I don't say this to urge people to vilify Luck. The only people who have a right to have a beef w/him is the Colts organization. But to those that do take issue, all I ask is "be consistent". Stop making excuses. Stop making moral judgements and justifying it based on "who", not on "what".
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Last edited by Cobra Mgr; 09-13-2019 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:32 AM   #25
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Barry was a class act. He could have had the rushing title if he wanted it, but like previously mentioned, he was never about himself. You're not going to find those type of people very often, if ever. It's just his bad luck he was with the Detroit Lions when the league was about the Cowboys/Redskins/49ers/Giants at the time.

He's probably the best RB I've seen play the game despite his downside. Emmitt Smith is the only other RB I can put in the same argument.
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