Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders made waves around the college football world when he stormed out of a press conference at a SWAC Media Day event earlier this week. The Hall-of-Fame cornerback, who was upset when a reporter called him by his first name, left the video call after he was referred to as “Deion” for the second time.
Sanders, just one year in to his collegiate coaching career, demanded to be shown the same respect as six-time NCAA champion Nick Saban.
“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick.’ Don’t call me Deion,” Sanders told writer 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.”
Suss was reportedly blocked from covering Jackson State at the next day’s media events.
Since these comments, countless reporters have come forward to say that they exclusively refer to Saban as “Nick.” During a press conference at an SEC Media Day yesterday, the legendary Alabama coach said he “responds to anything.”
ESPN SEC insider Paul Finebaum still believes Saban should be referred to as “coach,” but also feels Sanders took things too far by walking out of the press conference.
“I have to tell you, this is a big deal,” Finebaum said on The Paul Finebaum Show Tuesday. “This came up last year with Nick Saban. A Birmingham sportscaster, Rick Karle, went on a tirade because he felt like Nick Saban should be addressed as, ‘Coach.’ Let me also say this: I agree — I believe that when I’m interviewing you, you’re a coach. Even though I know you personally.
“But that doesn’t really mean you should walk out if you’re not addressed as a coach, considering you’ve only been a coach for a year.”
In his first season as head coach of the Tigers, Sanders led his team to a 4-3 record.
But, with the No. 54 recruiting class in the nation heading into this coming season, Coach Prime and Jackson State should be in for a much-improved year in 2021.