University of Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders talked about the types of athletes he likes to recruit for various positions on the “Rich Eisen Show.” In doing so he managed to perpetuate harmful stereotypes that have hindered Black athletes in sports for decades.
Was Coach Prime Perpetuating Negative Stereotypes?
“Well, we have different attributes. Smart, tough, fast, disciplined with character,” Sanders said. “Now, quarterbacks are different. We want mother, father. Dual-parent. We want that kid to be a 3.5 [GPA] and up because he has to be smart. Not bad decisions off the field at all. Because he has to be a leader of men and so many different attributes in what we look for when we see a quarterback.”
Dual-parent homes are often code for white homes in college football recruiting. Now, defenders of Sanders will point out that Prime’s son Shedeur will be the QB at Colorado. Shedeur is from a dual-parent home and is obviously Black.
That’s a disingenuous position.
The suggestion that an individual from a single parent home isn’t smart enough to play QB is ludicrous. You know who else are products of dual-parent homes? Murderers, pedophiles, and serial killers.
Wanting your QB to be smart and a good decision maker is key. But whether the prospect has one or two parents doesn’t necessarily dictate that.
“Different positions are different,” Sanders continued. “Like O-linemen, I look for dual-parent homes. A strong father that they adhere to. Smart kid, at least 3.3 [GPA] and above. Tough, physical.”
Again, who tends to dominate offensive line play? White players. It is said to be a position that requires intelligence. The assumption here is that only white players, with strong fathers have the aptitude to play along the line. It also plays into the stereotype of absentee Black fathers.
“Defensive lineman is totally opposite,” Sanders said. “Single mama, trying to get it. He’s on free lunch. I’m talking about just trying to make it. He’s trying to rescue mama. Like, mama barely made the flight, and I just want him to go get it.”
“It’s a whole bit of different attributes you look for in different positions, and we have that stuff just chronicle. We know what we want, and we go get it,” he said.
Notice when discussing defensive lineman Sanders makes no mention of intelligence. He wants kids who are on “free lunch” with a “single mama” he’s trying to rescue.
The obvious implication is that you just need to be a super talented athlete that can just use his physical tools to dominate. No thinking involved, just “go get it.”
Would it surprise you to know that Black athletes tend to dominate the defensive line?
Deion has always been about Deion
Prime is a legendary figure in sports and entertainment but is no leader in the Black community. He is all about one thing, what’s good for Prime.
No doubt this kind of talk appeals to his largely white, wealthy alumni donor base, whom he’ll need to get the kind of results he wants at Colorado.
Prime was no savior of HBCUs and he is no savior or beacon of light for future Black coaches. He’s someone that’s in it for himself and will do whatever he has to in service of that end, even if it means perpetuating dangerous stereotypes about people he purportedly cares about.