Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, who has been the head coach at Jackson State since 2020, created some controversy earlier this year when he demanded to be called “coach” by media members.
In July, Sanders was called by his first name a couple of times at the Southwestern Athletic Conference media day.
And he wasn’t happy about it.
“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick.’ Don’t call me Deion,” said Sanders (via ESPN).
The legendary cornerback then said “if you call Nick [Saban], Nick, you’ll get cussed out on the spot,” adding, “so don’t do that to me. Treat me like Nick.”
Sanders’ claim about Saban was quickly proved incorrect.
That same week, at SEC Media Days, Saban responded to a question about what he prefers to be called.
Saban essentially said that he doesn’t care what he’s called.
I’m not sure if Sanders saw that video. But a few months later, Sanders is still holding strong on being called “coach”.
“I’m from the old school. We grew up respectful and honorable,” said Sanders during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take this week. “Every parent or person older was a ‘Mr.’ or a ‘Mrs.’, a ‘yes, ma’am,’ a ‘no, ma’m,’ a ‘yes, sir.’”
“That’s just the way I grew up,” added Sanders”. “And I can’t think of a person who’s ever coached me that I didn’t title by his name or a person of authority that I didn’t give them the proper authority label they deserve. Doctors are ‘Dr. such and such, Nurse such and such.’
“Our teachers are ‘Mrs.’ and ‘Mr.’ To call someone by their name to belittle what I’ve accomplished and what I work for, it’s not right and I wasn’t gonna stand for it. I’ve never stood for foolishness, so why would I stand for it now? I’m not gonna do that. And they made a big deal out of it, but it was real, it was authentic.”
Sanders is certainly entitled to be addressed as “Coach” if that’s what he desires.
But using Saban as an example of why he wants to be called coach?
That’s a completely bogus reason.
Featured image via Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via Imagn Content Services