“We Stereotype Everything” | Deion Sanders Explains Controversial Statement About Single-Parent Recruits

“Coach Prime”, Deion Sanders, the greatest cornerback in NFL history and brand-new coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes football program, joined hosts and former NFL stars Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor on “The Pivot Podcast” this week for an emotional discussion of his plans for turning the school’s gridiron fortunes around, his philosophies on life and to clarify his recent comments about recruiting players for different positions based on their backgrounds.   

Sanders Won’t Tolerate Failing Grades

Sanders begins the dialogue by addressing the moves he’s made and fat he’s cut since coming to Boulder. He says he’s already chopped a number of players from his new team, who went 1-11 last year without him.

“Same model we did in Jackson State,” reveals Sanders, “We’re going to get rid of a whole bunch of them. I just had five or six of them let go because of grades.

Deion Sanders gets candid and addresses recent controversies on “The Pivot Podcast.” (Photo: TPPC)

“When I get a report and they in the red, I bring them right in. We ain’t gonna do this. This is not going to happen here. It’s not like when we went to school. Most of their classes are online. How are you flunking something you get to do at home? You don’t care. If you don’t care, why should I? You can’t play for us. If you don’t want it for yourself, you sure don’t want it for me.”

When asked by Clark to clarify his recruiting philosophy, Sanders addresses his recent admission that when looking for quarterbacks, he looks for athletes with at least 3.5 GPA from dual-parent households, as well as his opinion that when it comes to defensive linemen, they should come from single-parent homes and receive “free lunch” and are trying to “rescue mama” by playing football.

Deion Sanders Explains Controversial Comments On Single-Parent Recruits

“We stereotype everything,” he explains. “You know, I just got in trouble for being honest about stereotypes, but it’s the truth. … If you look over the history of our game, and you look at the quarterbacks and look at the defensive linemen…”

Prodded by Crowder, Sanders relays that he’s ultimately trying to help players of every ethnicity and background and adds that, despite his career-long reputation as a fan favorite and media darling, he was mostly unaffected by the outrage expressed at his “honest” admissions.  

“I don’t get off on the claps of people, man,” Sanders reveals. “They don’t bring me up and don’t bring me down. That means I’m giving you my remote control and letting you turn me and click me the way that you want to. I’ve never been built like that! If I’m going to get up from public praise and adulation, that means I’m going to be happy and elated when you’re clapping. That means you have the propensity also to bring me down and make me sad and distraught and angry. I’m not built like that. I’ve always walked to a different beat.”

What About The Way Deion Sanders Left Jackson State?

Sanders goes on to address hard feelings from players and fans about his abrupt coaching departure from the HBCU Jackson State University to take the position in Boulder.

“Let’s go on the field first,” responds Sanders. “Number one, you have to have a quarterback that can throw the darn football to win. There were two teams that really were successful in the SWAC, us and VAMU [Prairie View A&M University Panthers] with coach [Willie] Simmons who is my guy. Quarterbacks that can spin it. Number two, the recruiting now is absurd. Now, people are saying they’ll go to an HBCU.

“Ain’t nothing wrong with an HBCU. I could do that because now there’s a navigational system that leads you from an HBCU to the NFL. Once upon a time, it was diverted. It didn’t happen. There are so many things we left behind you can glean from. I honestly believe that.”

Can Coach Prime Reach The New-Age Athlete?

After walking the crew through his decision process to move to Boulder, Sanders then laughingly admits that the changing times are one of his biggest current challenges.

“This is a different kid out there right now,” says Sanders about today’s college player. “It’s not y’all. Y’all ain’t sitting in these meeting rooms. They’re totally different because they were raised totally different, so their thought processes are totally different. TheBible also says my rod and my staff they comfort me, so I knew I need a staff to comfort me. I have a staff with several coaches that were former head coaches. … I love the team we’ve assembled here.”

Recalling how no one came to watch him play in high school, Sanders emotionally recounts how he was forced to become his own cheering squad, and that’s what helped him shed the need for outside approval. He then walks through the difference between his upbringing and his goals for improving his own parental performance with his own kids, Deiondra, Deion Jr., Shilo, Shedeur, and Shelomi.

Who Was Deion Sanders’ Greatest Influence?

Sanders coached safety Shilo and quarterback Shedeur at Jackson State — and will again now at Colorado. Questioned by Taylor, Sanders says his greatest influence in life has been his mother, Connie.

“She’s always been resilient,” recounts Sanders with his voice beginning to crack. “She’s always worked her butt off and sacrificed so that we would have. My mama never cared about a Louis, or Gucci or Fendi. She never asked me for none of that bull junk. I gave her several diamond rings; I don’t think she wears them. I don’t think she has them, mink coats and everything. My mama ain’t even into that. My mama has never even asked me for a first-class flight, but she got there.

My mama wanted me to save my laundry at Florida State so she could wash it every two weeks that there was a home game and she made it, a six-hour drive from Fort Myers, Florida, for the home games. Although she never watched me at high school because she worked Monday through Friday. But she made it to the home games on Saturday, six hours away.”

Sanders Recalls Devastating Toe Surgery

Sanders then emotionally takes the crew through his excruciating recovery from his toe amputations and how it felt for one of the fastest men in the world to be confined to a wheelchair.

“You have no idea how helpless and hopeless that I felt, man,” answers Sanders. “You know how hard that was for me? I remember going back because my team didn’t know. Nobody knew. Y’all didn’t know I was going through blood clots and had this amputated. … To understand all this was going on … that was the toughest thing that ever happened, because it wasn’t just the blood clots.

“It was OK, we’re going to have to take the whole leg from knee down because I wasn’t getting any blood. … It was that touch and go. I had nine surgeries in less than a month. Then it was like, ‘OK we got to take a couple toes.’ I said ‘I don’t care if you take the whole foot. I need to be there for my kids.’ My lady was there. Friends and family members were there. It was the toughest thing I ever dealt with in my life because I had no control, and we love control. That’s why I never smoked or drank. I like control.”

A superstar athlete turned winning coach. A loyal son and devoted father. Sanders reveals his deeply pensive side and the thought processes behind many of his sometimes-controversial decisions.

Sanders is never at a loss for words, but “The Pivot” crew got some answers to questions that have been the topic of social media discussion when it comes to Coach Prime for some time now.

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