University of Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders has responded to viral criticism that he was not “as upset” about his team’s locker room being broken into by thieves during their game this weekend as he was when “the same thing” happened during his tenure at Jackson State University.
Following Colorado’s 16-28 loss to UCLA on Saturday night in the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, reports claimed Sanders’ players had been robbed of jewelry and other valuables.
On Tuesday, Sanders opened up not only about the reports that his players were robbed but also addressed accuations of not being “as upset” with the Rose Bowl robbery as he was more than two years ago when he claimed he was robbed while working as head coach at Jackson State, a historically Black college (HBCU) in Mississippi.
Criticism in Black pockets of social media initially focused on the Rose Bowl robbery as a way to debunk the racist narrative that such criminal activity “only happens at HBCUs.”
Given the fact that we were all stolen from a whole continent, it was always absurd to assume that “this only happens at HBCUs.”
I hope these young men get their things back. And that their coach is sufficiently self-chastened (we know he won’t likely compare the situations). https://t.co/vean4naiwy
— Greg Carr (@AfricanaCarr) October 30, 2023
But early Tuesday morning, former NFL player and sports analyst Marcus “Doc” Holliday entered the chat by posting a video in which he directly called out Sanders and suggested the coach didn’t have the same energy for UCLA and the Rose Bowl as he did when it happened at Jackson State.
“I remember when you went off when you were coaching at Jackson when you said somebody stole all your stuff out of the coaches’ locker room and you pretty much lambasted the university, lambasted the city and ‘how could that happen?’” Holliday, who played briefly with the St. Louis Rams in the 90s, said in the selfie video. He recalled that Sanders was going “pretty hard” at the university and the football program.
“The same thing just happened at the Rose Bowl when y’all were playing UCLA,” Holliday continued, “so I really need to see that same kind of energy and that same kind of outrage” as displayed at Jackson State.
“Gotta be fair in this, now,” said Holliday, who tagged Sanders’ social media handle in the post.
The video itself got fairly limited engagement with nearly 300 likes more than 12 hours after it was posted. But it did happen to catch the eye of Sanders, who responded in kind by suggesting Holliday was too busy dwelling on old news.
“My brother move in [sic] with your life I have and I’m to [sic] BLESSED to be stressed with yesterday’s inconsistencies,” Sanders said on the social media app formerly known as Twitter. “You’re talking about 2 whole different circumstances. God bless u because he’s sure blessing me.”
My brother move in with your life I have and I’m to BLESSED to be stressed with yesterday’s inconsistencies. You’re talking about 2 whole different circumstances. God bless u because he’s sure blessing me. https://t.co/tT71P5E5j6
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) October 31, 2023
As of Tuesday afternoon, Holliday’s video had been viewed more than one million times.
Sanders’ response to the Rose Bowl robbery has been relatively muted compared to back in 2021 when he immediately told reporters that he had personal items stolen from him while his Jackson State team trounced Edward Waters University 53-0.
And Deion didn’t say a word about this at the post game press huh. Now I recall it going different at Jackson state. I wonder what is different https://t.co/ciyyb2sGZY
— @black (@BlackBookClub1) October 30, 2023
Sanders also made sure that journalists knew it was the second time he had been robbed as coach at Jackson State.
Coach Prime said someone stole all of the belongings in his office during the game. pic.twitter.com/HEMRLv7IgI
— Rashad Milligan (@RashadMilligan) February 21, 2021
“What happened today was malicious, a personal attack,” Sanders told reporters during the postgame press conference at the time.
Since moving to Jackson in December, this is the second time Deion Sanders has had property stolen.
Someone stole a boom box from his car. Upon learning it was Deion’s boom box, the person returned the property to him.
“What happened today was malicious, a personal attack.”
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) February 21, 2021
Hours later, Jackson State announced that Sanders’ belongings had been “quickly recovered.”
Official Statement Regarding Incident pic.twitter.com/pDKQNtd7dd
— Jackson State Athletics (@GoJSUTigers) February 22, 2021
But not before Sanders issued several statements on Twitter doubling down on his claims of being the victim of a robbery and rejecting the “lies” suggesting there was no theft.
Whomever putting out the lie that my belongings wasn’t stolen is LYING. My belongings were taken out of a zipped bag in my office and more items were taken as well from my office. We have retrieved them since being reported. My Staff member witnessed the crime. #Truth
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) February 22, 2021
Lies. It was stolen because a staff member walked in on the theft being committed but she couldn’t fight a dude off. https://t.co/SByAPPPH1H
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) February 22, 2021
While that’s not exactly the “lambasting” that Holliday claimed Sanders was doing following the Rose Bowl robbery, it’s far more than what the coach had said this time around; that is, until Tuesday during his weekly press conference.
Sanders called for an official investigation by the body that governs college sports.
“Our kids got robbed during the game last week. I think that’s a travesty” Sanders said. “I would expect the NCAA to do something about that.”
Sanders suggested that the jewelry reportedly stolen was not insured because they’re just “college kids.” As such, Sanders continued, they should be reimbursed for their reported losses.
He continued: “I know the kids will be forthright in what was stolen and some of our staff members as well. And all that stuff should be replaced. This is the Rose Bowl. They said the ‘Granddaddy of ’em all,’ right? I’m sure granddaddy had some money. Grandpa should have some money to get these kids.”
Sanders’ departure from Jackson State University for a predominantly white institution (PWI) has been a source of controversy since it was announced late last year. The situation was compounded when Sanders’ daughter, Deiondra,
Some have argued that Sanders abandoned Black people by taking a much higher-paying job at a Power Five PWI. Some have accused him of using Jackson State as a career stepping stone. Others have largely defended Sanders. There have also been much more nuanced takes.
Regardless of how this episode plays out, Sanders has undoubtedly turned around a football program at Colorado that won just one game last season. After starting this season undefeated following its first three games, Colorado was ranked for the first time since the 2020 season. Despite its record of 4-5, all but one of the games have been winnable
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