Barry Made A Poor Choice

I will always be loyal to Barry Sanders. He is the greatest running back that I have ever seen, and, likely, will ever see in my life. Barry was always cooperative with me as a reporter, despite the fact that interviews were never his favorite thing to do. However, as I watched the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday I couldn't help but be embarrased for Sanders.

As many times as he instantly made the right choice on the field to keep a run going and avoid defenders, this time he had six months to choose the right person to introduce him to his greatest honor on the footsteps of the NFL shrine. Barry Sanders made the wrong choice.

I have no doubt, in fact, I've seen it in person how devoted Barry is to his father. William Sanders has had a positive influence on his son's life, but he has also wronged Barry at times. Even in his book Barry points out some past mistakes made by his father. His dad's devotion to OU as a Sooner fan while Barry played at Oklahoma State. I can tell all of you this, while it is not a situation I will ever face, if either my son or daughter were to compete for OU, I would not show up wearing orange and black at their games. Yes, I would be a huge Sooner fan. I was raised that blood is thicker than anything. Family first!

William Sanders introduction started off with a shameful plug for Barry's book. The camera's showed Barry in a pose similar to that of O-State basketball coach Eddie Sutton when a pleyer makes a mistake, hand over eyes not believing what is going on. William Sanders continued, taking the time to say hello to friends and the man he feels is the greatest running back in history, Jim Brown. William Sanders sounded more like an inductee than a presenter. He finished by introducing Barry as the third greatest running back ever. The ESPN announcers, unfortunately clarified what William meant reiterating a comment he had made last week that Jim Brown was first, and he, William Sanders was second. Sanders had said earlier in the week that if his coaches had understood his running style he would have gone on to greatness.

Barry had to start his acceptance with an apology for his father's plug of the book. Then Sanders, always uncomfortable as a speaker, nervously delivered a decent speech. He skipped around a lot. He thanked the right people, including the Detroit fans. He really honored his mother, brother Byron, high school coach Bill Burkholder, and his first Detroit coach Wayne Fontes. Almost completely absent was mention of Oklahoma State or coaches or teammates there. Hopefully, those will come next week in South Bend as Barry will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. No, it won't be as visible, but it will be very appropriate.

Hopefully, William Sanders will stay home for that ceremony and leave the stage to Barry. We all know Barry doesn't want the limelight, but he deserves it. I should have expected what I got from Canton. Tigers don't change their stripes and this is a man that cheered against his son's college team wearing OU gear to a bedlam footbal game. The same man who led Barry last winter to a reception hosted by OU and Bob Stoops, while OSU representatives waited at a reception they arranged to honor Barry's selection to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Here's hoping that Barry will learn his lesson, love they father, but don't always obey. Too many mistakes have been made down that path. Barry was always better cutting his own way.

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