- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2000

I want to thank the Lord for the following message from the place formerly known as Raljon.
This is how Deion Sanders does it.
He thanks the Lord and then issues blessings to everyone.
This is a powerful statement on his part, or at least he appears to think it is.
But it is hard to take the statement seriously. Sanders is a cartoon character whose act is contrived. He is one person in front of the cameras and another person in private.
He is a clown in front of the cameras, and clowns are not intended to be credible.
He makes it up as he goes along, and he is a symbol of a deep self-love. He loves himself, and hopefully, you can love him as well.
Sanders is a football mercenary and a marketing whiz. He learned a long time ago that it does not matter what he says, only that he says something that grabs America's short attention span. You don't have to stand for anything in the world of pop culture. You just have to be entertaining.
"I've been waiting nine months for this baby to be born," Sanders said after his 57-yard punt return in overtime led the home team to victory. "Boy, was she a big one."
Sanders was styling, as usual, attired in a black jacket with pinstripes, a gold chain and a fedora. He's a cool dude. You should try to be cool, too. This is what it is all about, and thank the Lord.
The Lord is interested in everyone, but probably less interested in a punt return, or the words that fill this space. There is the problem of Calcutta, after all. There are higher priorities than a punt return or the outcome of a football game.
But who knows? Maybe the cricket players in England connect with the Lord after they have completed their task. Cricket is fairly important stuff, and the good Lord undoubtedly believes that cricket players are as special as football players.
"I hope this puts to rest all the doubts," Sanders said.
Sanders makes his first play in five games and hopes it puts to rest all the doubts. Now we know the exchange rate. Sanders has two more plays in him this season, or one play every five games, and as long as he delivers two more plays, there will be no more doubts, no more questions.
He can let the ball bounce off his facemask after doing a fancy dance number. Or he can catch the ball, and instead of moving forward for 10 or 15 yards, he can stand in one place and pretend to be faking out the approaching defenders. He also can hold the ball with one hand and act shifty around the tacklers.
Of course, players are taught in elementary school not to hold the ball with one hand. This is a sure way to lose the ball. Sanders, though, is too cool to let one of the game's fundamentals deny who he is.
He likes holding the ball with one hand, because it feels right and looks good to the viewers at home. He lost the ball that way against the Buccaneers, holding it with one hand. But wasn't it exciting? Weren't you enthralled? Sanders is just so darn fascinating.
Norv Turner, the coach of the $100 million team, did not mention Sanders' error after the game. It would not have been nice, and coaches, even football coaches, try to be as sensitive as the rest of America.
Vince Lombardi probably would not be amused by Sanders, and Bob Knight, oh, my, the basketball coach with a lot of football in him, would blow a gasket around Sanders.
But Turner is required to be careful around his pampered egos.
"It's nice when a guy makes you look smart," Turner said.
Turner has stayed behind Sanders, if only because it wouldn't be worth the public relations trouble to make a switch.
Sanders would talk to the Lord, if not to the Boy Owner and to every member of the media in town, and then Turner would have to explain himself, and in the big scheme of things, it's just not that important, at least not in North Korea.
"I'm glad I don't listen to you guys," Turner said, meaning the guys who wondered if Sanders averaging 2.3 inches a punt return was adequate.
Fortunately, Sanders has addressed the question. He is good for one play every five games.
So God bless Deion, and God bless you, readers.

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