“Coach Prime” isn’t on a first-name basis with journalists.
Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders left an appearance during SWAC Media Day after a reporter referred to him as “Deion” Tuesday afternoon.
“If you call Nick (Saban), Nick, you’ll get cussed out on the spot, so don’t do that to me,” Sanders said on a Zoom call with remote members of the press. “Treat me like Nick.”
Reporter Nick Suss of the Clarion-Ledger — before asking his question — called Sanders “Deion” again before the coach abruptly moved on.
Suss later explained that he calls everyone he interviews by their first name regardless of their relationship.
In a statement on Twitter, Sanders explained his perspective of an exchange he surmised as disrespectful in nature.
“Never walked out of media day. I prolonged my time to answer another question & the person thought it was cute to address me the way he did so I dropped the call & went to the next outlet,” he said. “Please don’t allow a fool to fool u because then nobody would truly know who the fool is.”
This isn’t the first time Sanders has chided a Clarion-Ledger reporter. During a Zoom call this past spring, Sanders once criticized Jackson State beat writer Rashad Mulligan for wearing a hoodie.
“Take the hoodie off, let’s do this right,” he exclaimed in March.
When Mulligan attempted to address Sanders, the coach interrupted by saying, “If you want me to take you seriously in this business, take your hoodie down.”
Mulligan then apologized and quickly removed the hoodie and baseball cap he was wearing before finally asking a question.
Sanders, however, said he did so to emphasize the importance of professionalism to a young journalist.
The working relationship between Jackson State and the newspaper has soured over the years, most recently with the school reportedly restricting Mulligan from interviewing players and coaches on Tuesday.
The newspaper claimed the school’s actions were in response to an article it published regarding a domestic violence charge allegedly levied against four-star high school recruit Quaydarius Davis, which Jackson State athletic director Ashley Robinson called into question its accuracy.
The Clarion-Ledger claimed Mulligan was told by a JSU athletics spokesperson that he could not talk with freshman quarterback Shedeur Sanders or Deion Sanders because of the article about Davis.
Sanders made mention of the situation during a media availability Tuesday with “Thee Pre Game Show.”
“The kid (Darius) is a kid,” said Sanders, who went on to refer to the reporter as a “fool.” “You’re attacking a kid. You’re trying to undress and uncover a kid. For what? Then you have the wrong information you’re extracting. Now you’ve set yourself up for a lawsuit.”
It is unclear whether Jackson State or an attorney representing Davis will seek legal action against the newspaper.
“I guarantee you that the gentlemen didn’t talk to any of the people involved,” said Sanders. I did. I have. We did all of our homework and our assessments.”