Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of star athletes act like divas.
But generally, they always seem to eventually grow up, realize they’re not God’s gift to earth, and become more humble in their later years.
That’s apparently not the case for this NFL legend turned college football coach, though, as he stormed out of an interview for an absolutely ridiculous reason.
Throughout the ‘90s, there was no bigger name in the NFL than Deion Sanders.
Giving himself the nickname “Prime Time,” Sanders was always over-the-top on and off the field, giving off a perception of arrogance and self-importance that could easily rub many the wrong way.
But he also always backed it up on the field, and had enough of a fun-loving personality for people to shrug off his antics, knowing that’s just Prime Time being Prime Time.
Since his retirement, it appeared as though Sanders was leaving a lot of his Prime Time persona behind as he became a high school football coach to have an impact on the players he coached.
That’s apparently not entirely true, though.
In fact, as the head coach at Jackson State, Sanders has found himself in headlines more often than he has been in almost two decades, and seems to be falling back into old Prime Time habits rather than just being a Coach.
According to reports, while taking part in his second SWAC Media Day, a reporter for Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger called Sanders by his first name while asking him a question, and that apparently infuriated Sanders to no end, causing him to storm out of the interview.
And as ridiculous as it is that Sanders was infuriated by being called his given name, his rationale is about as insane as it gets.
“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick,’” Sanders said. “Don’t call me ‘Deion.’”
Sanders went on to demand that he be treated the exact same way as Saban and other veteran college football coaches.
“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,” he said.
In case Deion isn’t aware, there’s a slight difference between his college coaching resume and Nick Saban’s.
Sure, Deion was a successful high school coach for several years, but so too are some overweight, mildly alcoholic, three-time divorcees who teach P.E.
And since he became the head coach at Jackson State last year, Deion has amassed a 4-3 career record so far as a college head coach.
Nick Saban meanwhile is, well, Nick Saban.
He’s one of, if not, the greatest football coaches of all-time, who’s racked up seven National Championships, nine SEC titles, 256 career wins, and about a 80% win percentage.
Maybe it’s crazy, but the respect level that goes to one of the greatest coaches of all-time versus that of a second year coach at a SWAC school should probably be slightly different.
Besides, we’re talking about a guy who routinely refers to himself as “Coach Prime.”
Would it be more acceptable for someone to call him that rather than his given name?
Deion has to remember who he is.
He is Deion Sanders, the flamboyant, over-the-top, NFL legend who reached the level where people could simply say “Deion” and everyone knew who they were talking about.
Few athletes or celebrities reach that level, and it’s arguably a level of respect that goes far beyond not calling Nick Saban by his first name.
At the end of the day, Deion is just really off base here.
He’s obviously trying to get a school like Jackson State to the next level, and he believes that to do that he needs to demand respect and change the way people view that level of football.
But he also needs to understand that the next level for Jackson State is still about 15 levels below Alabama and the rest of the Power Five conferences.
No one is going to give Jackson State – and by extension him as a head coach – respect simply because it’s demanded.
Deion didn’t earn respect in the NFL by demanding it, and it’s not going to happen now.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.