There is no such thing as American Culture. The United States has become a nation of subcultures, some of which overlap, some of which overlap only in the realm of wishful thinking. The "cult of the athlete" is just one of many. Those who whine about the special treatment high school jocks get are often the beneficiaries of their own membership in one cult or another during the course of their lives. And, of course, they won't stand for any whining. E Pluribus Pluribus.