On his “Club Shay Shay” Podcast, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Undisputed co-host Shannon Sharpe sat down with Colorado coach Deion Sanders for a 90-minute conversation on a variety of topics that included his time at Jackson State.
For the second consecutive year, Jackson State tasted defeat in the Celebration Bowl, falling 41-34 to North Carolina Central last Saturday, a loss that the new Buffaloes head coach says will stick with him.
“We were not disciplined and we didn’t get it done,” he said. “We tried, god the offense tried, special teams as well as defense. It’s a team [game] and we just didn’t get it done and I’m going to forever remember this.
“This is the second time that we didn’t get it done and that hurts.”
Sanders’ departure from Jackson State is still a subject of contention for some not only within the JSU fan base but also scores of HBCU supporters, too.
“When people are hurt, oftentimes their first response isn’t the response that should be given,” Sanders told Sharpe. “They say things out of emotions and anger, but I listen. Because when a person says stuff that’s what they really feel. When they are hurt and out of emotions and anger, and I just thought to myself if I didn’t know who I was and where I was headed, and if I didn’t know the Lord, I would believe some of those things.”
Coach Prime added, “We put the blueprint in place, but I got the pen, and they upset because they felt I let them down or I walked out.”
Sanders revealed that he made a two-year commitment to Jackson State athletic director Ashley Robinson saying that “he (Robinson) said, ‘I want you to do something for me.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ and he said, ‘At least give me two years.’”
“The dream is that I wanted equality, right? The dream was that I wanted these kids to get to know the notoriety and get to the NFL. We did that, right?” he said. “The dream is that we want better facilities and we are overlooked and underfunded. I’ve established that, and we made strides toward that. The dream was that I believe that we could win. I could believe that we could graduate at a certain rate. I believe that we could treat these kids and raise them to be young men. That was the dream. Why did you stop dreaming? I ain’t. The dream continues.”
“Lemme tell you something,” Sanders said to Sharpe. “You know how I think, you know how I dream and I don’t know if that dream will ever align with my dreams, right?”
Sanders suggested that his most vocal detractors were not invested like he was to “do something about” the inequities that plagued JSU and other Black colleges.
“Give a little more instead of sitting back throwing sticks and stones,” said Sanders.
Added Sanders: “I wanted to bring solvency to how are we broke. How are we always asking? Why are we always in the deficit? Everybody? You mean everybody? That’s a problem for me. So let’s investigate that. Not saying that anybody is stealing or doing anything unfair. Let’s investigate it. So let’s find the fault. So if it’s the state, if it’s the government, where, what, where is this coming? This lack thereof. Let’s find it. I was willing to hire a team to audit and find this because it’s impossible for all of us to be in the same situation.”
When asked how HBCU football programs could build on what he accomplished, Sanders said, “Go get you a quarterback that can throw it. Sooner or later you’re gonna find yourself down and you got to spin it.”
When asked about the pitch from Colorado athletic director Rick George that led to him ultimately leaving Jackson State, Sanders described the passion he expressed for returning Colorado back to prominence.
“Honesty, man, and his heart and his passion for this university, like he wanted to make a change,” he said. ‘He said that they deserve a winner. And I, I feel like you’re a winner. This is what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna make sure this university wins before I leave here. That’s what he said. And we are gonna do everything we can to give you the resources to make that happen. And it has been true since the day I said I do.”