Deion Sanders continues to focus on the prize, despite our opinions

On December 3, 2022, Deion Sanders made headlines for leaving Jackson State University after rejuvenating the football program that was considered mediocre by most. It was the hottest story in a congested sports news period for two straight weeks, especially in the Black community.

Nine months later, the program that “Prime Time” left the historic HBCU for made headlines for defeating the TCU Horned Frogs, the national runner-ups from last season, 45-42, in a thriller that featured his sons, Shedeur and Shilo Sanders, as well as former five-star high school recruit and No. 1 prospect of the 2022 class, Travis Hunter.

Some people were in favor of his decision to leave Jackson State, while others were upset and, in some cases, outraged at him selling out by jumping from the HBCU ship as soon as something better opened up.

Those who were outraged cited Sanders’ promise that he would bring top-level talent to Jackson, MS.

“I believe that all the people that you know with a child that has D1, Power Five potential can now choose Jackson State,” said Sanders.

Sanders misled Jackson State. Sanders cheated the university. Sanders aided in the narrative that HBCUs aren’t valued in the same light as a PWI. Even one of the worst football programs that finished last season with a 1-11 record snagged Sanders from a premier HBCU football program. These are only a few things people complained about after Coach Prime’s big move.

But when you fast forward to Saturday, September 2, where Sanders won his first game as head coach of the Buffaloes, many of the naysayers from nine months ago were his biggest fans.

The hype rose around this matchup leading up to game day. Then it went viral when Colorado stayed with TCU throughout the game. People were cheering for Shedeur while he threw for 510 yards and four touchdowns, and Hunter, who caught 11 balls for 119 yards and an interception and played 125 snaps on both sides of the ball. Both historic moments that somehow overshadowed Dylan Edwards’ monumental afternoon, where he caught five balls for 135 yards and three touchdowns.

We live in an impressionable society that will jump on a trending topic quickly, while many will also hop on a train no matter which direction it’s going.

Last December, there was a lot of misdirected anger toward Sanders and his decision to propel his career. Most of those angry people didn’t do anything themselves to help or support Jackson State University. The parents I know with kids who excel in sports didn’t send, or even consider sending their kids to Jackson State. Let’s be honest, JSU isn’t at the forefront of their minds anymore.

But Colorado football is on their mind because it’s the hottest topic in sports after Week 1 of the college football season. A Black man who is unapologetically Black, exuberating Black culture and speaking his truth, as he did even in his professional playing days, immediately defied the odds by translating what he did at the FCS level at JSU to a Power 5 program at Colorado.

I’ve always found it interesting how the world can be against you one day, and then cheering you on the next, all based on a narrative built on social media. Deion Sanders joins track superstar Sha’Carri Richardson in recent instances where this has happened.

Regardless of your opinion, coach Prime has Colorado prepared to compete at the highest level of college football as evidenced in their statement win against TCU on Saturday. Are you on the train? Honestly, it doesn’t matter because the Buffaloes are on a mission.

About Author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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