HBCU fans … this is all your fault.
HBCU wave riders … this is all your fault, too.
Ever since now-Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders pulled a Baltimore Colts and sprinted away from Jackson, Mississippi, minutes after his then-Jackson State team beat down of Southern to clinch a second-straight Southwestern Athletic Conference title Saturday, you all have littered social media and the airwaves with think pieces and hot takes.
You all have whined, complained, cheered, and presented other emotions while trying to rationalize why Coach Prime left you all like dude who slipped away from Springfield after they built that faulty monorail on “The Simpsons.”
While you complained, Sanders — with quarterback son Shedeur in tow — toured the facilities on Boulder and the elder Sanders preached to the Buffaloes faithful about the changes he would bring.
Just step away from smartphones and computers. Take a long look in the mirror. Take a deep, cleansing breath and say, “I got worked.”
You all were caught up in the glam. Sanders sold you big dreams and had you all ready to slur anyone who disagreed with what he was saying. There have been cases of people who were swept by the Sanders cult of personality calling others such hits as “Uncle Tom” and “sellout” for simply seeking to hold him accountable during his tenure at J-State.
His words turned folks into amateur investigative reporters, scrambling to find incomplete documents and calling damn near any HBCU contract janky, despite evidence to the contrary.
He even converted people — I’m looking at Gillie da Kid and others — who went from saying they would not send their child to an HBCU to running up and down the field in navy blue, red and white in support of The Tige … oops, Sanders.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: the Sanders/J-State relationship was mutually beneficial. Sanders got the head coaching job experience check box marked so he can eventually get the keys to a Power 5 program — his endgame. Jackson State hired him when no Power 5 would touch him, and he had to complete his bachelor’s degree at HBCU Talladega College so he could meet the requirements of being a collegiate head football coach.
Jackson State hitched itself to the Prime wagon, getting a lot of free publicity and buzz directly due to its relationship with Sanders. Texas Southern alum Michael Strahan gave them suits and came back during JSU’s homecoming week for an episode of “Good Morning America.”
Savannah State alum Shannon Sharpe — who tweeted he wouldn’t have even gone to SSU if he had the right grades — kept Prime and the Tigers as a hot topic on FS1’s “Undisputed.”
Some media experts estimate Jackson State received over $100 million in free publicity during the Prime years. Most importantly, the Tigers dominated in two-straight seasons and will get a second-straight Celebration Bowl game in a few days. Jackson State takes on Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina Central in Atlanta on Dec. 17. Jackson State also led the Football Championship Subdivision in average attendance, even outpacing a portion of Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Jackson State benefitted the most from the Prime experience. The SWAC indirectly benefitted simply because it was the conference Sanders’ then-employers are members of. Some would say the SWAC only got on ESPN because of Sanders, not realizing that the current ESPN deal Commissioner Charles McClelland signed off on was before Sanders took the job.
Did the Sanders/J-State relationship directly or indirectly help other members of the MEAC, SIAC, CIAA and HBCUs on the NAIA and below levels? As the late urban philosopher Bishop Bullwinkle said, “hell to the naw.”
Problem is, some of you all got so worked by Sanders propping himself as an HBCU savior that you all started saying his presence would help ALL HBCUs when in fact, it only directly helped the 12 members of the SWAC.
You all are the ones that compared Sanders to Eddie Robinson, Jake Gaither, Ace Mumford, and others. You all are the ones that damn-near exalted Coach Prime to civil rights activist levels like he was former Alcorn State football star Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and countless others.
By the way, “you all” includes some members of the media that carried Sanders’ tainted water to the masses, like Walter Payton toted the rock for the Tigers and the Chicago Bears. Some of you all ran to your platforms under the spell of the Prime Svengali, blasting HBCU giving and leadership like they were the true reasons Sanders slipped out of the back door. Sanders did not give that same Black media who covered almost his every move the opportunity a chance to ask questions before he hopped on a private jet to Boulder.
The dirty part of that last paragraph was that a lot of you all knew better but didn’t do better. You know the forces at play when it comes to why HBCUs — whether public or private — have the resources issues they have. Yet, you low-and high-key scolded Jackson State for not having the money to keep Sanders.
Now you all are standing looking silly like Will Smith on that episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” when his daddy left him behind and disappointed him.
I get it. Sanders was one of your favorite players throughout the years. When you played high school ball or Madden, you wanted to high-step into the end zone. You wore a bandana on your head. He was your GOAT. You loved him.
When he came in that motorcade, and the Sonic Boom of the South played, your love grew, and your nostrils grew wider. You ignored the red flags. You vociferously defended his remarks and disrespect to other schools. Because he was Prime. He was YOUR Prime.
Then, he just upped and left when it looked like the Tigers were about to become a dynasty, and your Prime was going to flip those proverbial tables and close the gaps and straighten the crooked.
You have no one else to blame but yourself, HBCU fans.
You have no one else to blame but yourself, HBCU wave riders.
You all got in your feelings, let Sanders dictate your loyalty, and put common sense on the back burner.
Go touch some grass — not the legal grass at Sanders’ new job.
How dare someone move upward, yes? He should not take the opportunities that Eddie Robinson probably never had due to the era he coached and stay in HBCU for 50+ years? Instead of being happy for the man and the position he is now to elevate other minority coaches and staff into Power 5 schools and give them the opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise, you (among others) dwell in the “crab in a bucket” mindset where if you can’t get all of us out of the bucket, you shouldn’t have the opportunity yourself so our duty is to drag you down.
Reminds me of an old movie where the son wanted to get another job as he wanted more than being a doorman and his mother was against it as it was a “good enough job” and to stop being ungrateful for “wanting more”
I believe he was totally blindsided as to how toxic Jackson is. Colorado, really. Not one his top 15 choices. He feared for the safety of his family. Are you the emotional hurt one. Article sounds like it.
Nobody got worked or taken advantage of by Coach Prime. We that have attended and played at a HBCU, know the truth. Coaches are nomads and they come and go, Deon Sanders is no different. Life is about betterment, and if he feels that the move gives him a opportunity to better himself, his family,and his coaching staff. So be it,let’s understand that he is not the savior for HBCU’s. Stop the drama, if Archie Coolie, Eddie Robinson could have gotten the same opportunities do you think they would of passed on it? It was great to see Deon Sanders at Jackson State; but life continues. Everyone has a opinion and its just that. Uplift one another regardless of what we may feel about his departure. Just food first thought….100
He’ll be a failure there, going to get exposed as a average coach
This is a terrible little rant labeled an article . Go get a different job.
You hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD!!! Amend
You hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD!!! Amen. It is the from the PLAY BOOK I am here to Get Mine!
“You all” is not you?
So now you otherize HBCU fans on HBCU sports? So you writing for PWI sports now? Bruh. You us too. We have to stop othering our own folks.
If he (Deion) had come in and just said, “I’m going to win here and leave the future open.” It would have been fine, BUT he came in proping himself up as a massiah. This is about the kids and raising the profile of all HBCU’s. This is a “CALLING” for me.
Then, he left due to a business decision.
Well, Well, Well. Now it is coming out exactly WHY Coach Prime left. It looks like somebody at JSU stole money (i.e., misappropriated funds) from the agreed upon portion of ticket sales he was supposed to receive. As a result, it is now being reported that Coach Prime had to pay for expenses to support his players and coaches from his OWN POCKET. He also, reportedly, wanted a helpful TV deal that would have boosted the JSU football program (and university) but the JSU administration said no. Finally, he helped to generate a reported $30 million for the local community and did not get anything back (10% would have helped him and his coaches). If the local community and government would have done something REAL to show support it COULD have showed him what was needed to retain and sustain a superstar POWER-5 level coaching talent (and his coaches). The JSU President and local government deserve to be thanked for all of this.
I agree and disagree. I don’t think as many people as you think bought what he was selling hook, line, and sinker. I think a lot of people figured we could just ride the wave the title time he was here. I also don’t think it was a cult following. Just like in politics, I think some people simply agreed with some of the stuff he said. They weren’t defending him just because he was Prime. I don’t think most some him as a “savior.” I do agree about the contracts. There has been no evidence that anyone was tricked on these contracts or that people were unwilling to renegotiate them. As for people in the media like Shannon Sharpe, they weren’t really keeping JSU a hot topic. They were keeping Prime a hot topic. Mentioning JSU was secondary. They could have taken this as an opportunity to educate people about JSU and HBCUs, but they didn’t. Journalists are supposed to research the subject of their coverage and give people facts they might now know. They did not do that. They acted more like fans than journalists.