Deion Sanders, one of the greatest American athletes of all time, is currently the head coach for the Jackson State University football team. During a media day for the SWAC division, Sanders walked out of a press conference after a reporter used his first name twice and referenced University of Alabama coach Nick Saban in the process.
Clarion Ledger reports that they were essentially frozen out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day this past Tuesday (July 20). It appears that Jackson State officials have some history with Clarion Ledger reporter Rashad Milligan after the paper published a story on Quaydarius Davis, the school’s highest-ranked recruit in its existence. As a result, the leadership at Clarion Ledger maintains that they’re being punished by Coach Sanders and Jackson State for simply informing readers of a public matter from their vantage point.
“A Clarion Ledger reporter was punished for simply doing his job,” Clarion Ledger Executive Editor Marlon A. Walker said in a statement. “The decision to interfere with a working journalist not only is disappointing but also intolerable. It runs counter to the Clarion Ledger’s unwavering mission to freely and fully inform readers throughout Mississippi. It is imperative to stand strong against any attempts to disrupt that effort.”
On Tuesday, Clarion Ledger reporter Nick Suss was admonished by Sanders for referencing Sanders by his first name, leading to the now-viral hit back.
“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick.’ Don’t call me Deion,” Sanders said to Suss. “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.”
Sanders walked out of the conference when Suss called him by his first name a second time.
“When I interview people, I call them by their first name,” Suss explained. “Whether it’s someone I’ve been working with for years or someone I’m talking to for the first time. This is true of the coaches and players on the Ole Miss beat, the coaches and players at Mississippi State and Southern Miss when I help out covering their teams and, as recently as January, even Sanders, too.”
At any rate, the moment has the attention of social media, and the reactions on Twitter are a mixed bag. Some stand with Coach Sanders as a show of respect for the title while others are stating that it might have been an overreaction from the Hall Of Fame football star. Some are even remarking on the fact that the famed HBCU is getting some well-deserved shine out of this moment too.
We’ve got reactions below.