Sports

SWAC Media Day was a poopshow, and it wasn’t just Deion’s hissy fit

As usual, it’s all about Deion. He’s no Nick Saban.

As usual, it’s all about Deion. He’s no Nick Saban.
Photo: AP

If his mama named him Deion, I’mma call him Deion.

With multiple self-aggrandizing and egotistical antics already on his resume during his short time as Jackson State’s head football coach, Deion Sanders upped the ante on Tuesday during the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s (SWAC) Media Day.

“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick.’ Don’t call me Deion,” Sanders told Nick Suss of the Clarion Ledger.

“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.”

According to reports, Sanders walked off like a toddler who was told they couldn’t have another cup of juice before bedtime, all because he was referred to by his government name.

As expected, Sanders is disputing the encounter.

“Never walked out of media day,” Sanders tweeted. “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. Please don’t allow a fool to fool u because then nobody would truly know who the fool is.”

At this point, labeling Sanders as a fool himself would be a compliment. Better yet, it would be high praise. Especially for a coach that’s coming off a spring season in which his team had a “4-3 record.” One of those wins, via a score of 53-0, came against Edward Waters College, an NAIA school that went 1-10 in its last full season of football. Another win came against Alcorn State, in a W that was granted to Jackson State after Alcorn forfeited its spring season. I’ll let you decide what the actual record was for the man who wants to be treated like Saban — the sport’s greatest coach, with over 250 wins, seven national championships, and a statue in his image. To make things even more comical, on Tuesday, social media was full of sports reporters discussing how Saban and other greats like Bill Belichick don’t take issue when other adults call them by their names.

“When I interview people, I call them by their first name,” said Suss — the reporter who dared call Deion, “Deion.”

“Whether it’s someone I’ve been working with for years or someone I’m talking to for the first time. This is true of the coaches and players on the Ole Miss beat, the coaches and players at Mississippi State and Southern Miss when I help out covering their teams and, as recently as January, even Sanders, too.”

If you’re wondering why Sanders was on edge, it was because he knew that he and his team were going to be asked some tough questions due to a report that came out earlier in the week, detailing how one of his most coveted recruits was charged with assaulting a woman. According to the Clarion Ledger:

“Quaydarius Davis, an incoming four-star wide receiver from Dallas, was expected to plead guilty on a charge of ‘assault causing bodily injury family violence,’ a misdemeanor in Texas, stemming from an incident in March.”

It was later reported that Davis was planning to plead not guilty, as the No. 178-ranked prospect in the class of 2021, according to 247Sports.

Those questions never got asked on Tuesday, as Jackson State officials blocked Clarion Ledger reporter Rashad Milligan from covering Sanders’ program at Media Day. Sanders did not want Milligan interviewing his players and staff, according to Clarion Ledger Executive Editor Marlon A. Walker, who told Deadspin that officials said media availability wouldn’t start until Milligan left.

“A Clarion Ledger reporter was punished for simply doing his job,” said Clarion Ledger Executive Editor Marlon A. Walker. “The decision to interfere with a working journalist not only is disappointing, but also intolerable.

“It runs counter to the Clarion Ledger’s unwavering mission to freely and fully inform readers throughout Mississippi. It is imperative to stand strong against any attempts to disrupt that effort.”

A source confirmed to Deadspin that this isn’t the first time Sanders has “taken issue” with Milligan, as he chastised the reporter earlier this year for appearing on a Zoom media availability in a hoodie.

People are working from home during a global pandemic, Deion. Wearing a sweatshirt isn’t a sin, especially when it’s an article of clothing you yourself love to wear.

If you think I’m beating up on Sanders or being unfairly critical, trust me, I’m not. I’m just chronicling the egotistical events of his tenure at JSU. Here’s a look at what’s happened so far.

  • Sanders had an introductory pep rally when he was hired that featured the school’s marching band — in the middle of a pandemic.
  • In January, he had a boombox stolen from his car. He ran to social media to tell us it happened.
  • In February, he opened up the postgame press conference after his first win as a college head coach by talking about how he had some personal items stolen during the game. As usual, the achievements of his players were an afterthought.
  • On Tuesday, he got mad that another grown man addressed him by his name, all while looking the other way as his employer blocked a young Black journalist from asking important questions.

If Sanders is acting like this with four measly wins on his resume, imagine how intolerable he’d be if he was “like Nick (Saban.)“

As is customary, the SWAC’s preseason all-conference football team was announced at Media Day, as Jackson State was picked to finish third in the Eastern Division. Of the 50 players selected to the preseason all-first and second-teams for offense, defense, and as specialists, only two of them were from Sanders’ roster.

But, unfortunately, as usual, the discussion isn’t about what the players at Jackson State are doing or trying to accomplish, or about the legal troubles that some are in. The conversation has been all about Deion Sanders because that’s what happens when you hire — and play for — a selfish ex-football player that’s masquerading as a coach who thrives off sucking up all the oxygen and attention in the room so that his government name can dominate headlines.


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