Football legend and Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders has indicated he has no regrets about abruptly ending his appearance at a SWAC Media Day event last summer after a pair of reporters referred to him simply as "Deion."
The strange episode turned heads last July, after Sanders took exception when two journalists didn't include the title "coach" while addressing him. Sanders strangely invoked Alabama coach Nick Saban before ending the conference call, which was held via Zoom.
“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick,’” Sanders told one of the reporters, Nick Suss, of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “Don’t call me Deion. If you call Nick [Saban] Nick, you’ll get cussed out on the spot, so don’t do that to me. Treat me like Nick.”
Now, in a new interview with Sports Illustrated imprint The Spun, Sanders insisted Suss had been "disrespectful," even though it is in fact commonplace for reporters to address coaches by their first names.
“What you’re referring to, that was just someone being disrespectful,” Sanders. “He had no idea we had a commercial on hand with one of the greatest coaches of all time [Nick Saban] addressing me as ‘Coach Prime.’ So, I think that made him look like an idiot. We win in the end. I’m pretty sure if he’s even allowed at SWAC Media Day, I’ll welcome him. It’s no problem.”
The Aflac commercial to which Sanders was referring ran throughout the fall and winter during last season.
Despite Sanders' continued bluster on the matter, there may have been more to the story than it first seemed.
After Sanders' tantrum, the Clarion Ledger later reported that Sanders had barred one of its reporters from covering the team in any capacity after the outlet reported on a misdemeanor domestic violence case involving prized Dallas-area recruit Quaydarius Davis, who had previously committed to the Kansas Jayhawks before his scholarship offer was revoked over the incident.
Davis sat out the entirety of the season but was reportedly expected back for the 2022 campaign.
Jackson State did just fine without Davis' services in 2021, winning the SWAC in Sanders' second year at the helm.
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