Upon some reflection, Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders doesn’t think that comments made by Nick Saban — which questioned how Sanders and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher landed star recruits — were really about them. No, Sanders thinks that the Alabama coach was really talking to his own boosters.
Sanders, speaking on the I Am Athlete nightly show on Mad Dog Radio on Sirius XM, said, amongst other things, that Saban used Sanders and Fisher as “pawns,” and that Saban was a spokesman for the Power 5 schools and Predominantly White Institutions.
“We were just pawns” 🤯 @DeionSanders on what he believes Nick Saban used him as
— I AM ATHLETE (@IAMATHLETEpod) May 20, 2022
A lot of people, including but not limited to former NFL quarterback Jim Everett, agreed with Sanders’ comments.
— 𝒥𝒾𝓂 𝐸𝓋𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓉𝓉 (@Jim_Everett) May 20, 2022
— 7 forever (@blackgodwayne) May 20, 2022
I’ve disagreed w/Deion on some of his stances but he’s prob on to something here. No other explanation for Saban essentially punching down (JSU) & being dangerously petty (A&M). Other than the intended target for his message being the unseen hand that funds the machine at Bama https://t.co/6x3HhzRJt1
— YouthSportsSanDiego 🏁 (@yssd) May 20, 2022
Makes sense https://t.co/nqEqiHVzaw
— Duna🌟 (@Haigler4Real) May 20, 2022
A new quote from Prime, who's right on the money with this. Saban used Deion and Jimbo as a sacrificial lambs to a broader point about NIL's lack of policing and guidelines. https://t.co/XitGCuBylo
— Brad Crawford (@BCrawford247) May 20, 2022
Sanders is probably onto something here. Saban is a longtime coach and one of the most successful in the history of his, or any other, sport. A big part of coaching is angling in public. (And these specific original comments were at an event for the 50-day countdown to the World Games in Birmingham, so that involves at least potential Alabama boosters.)
Coaches tend to be public about their issues. In theory, it’s not that much different than talking about how an upcoming opponent or team gets away with certain penalties or fouls. Coaches make comments like that all the time. This situation is obviously a lot more nuanced and, rightfully, gets people’s attention a lot more than talking about calls does. But it really comes down to the same basic theory.
Sanders added (H/T Mike Rodak, AL.com) that he doesn’t hold a grudge against Saban and that “I’m not going to put him a category just because he had a bad moment.”
And while that’s a commendable attitude, something tells us that we’re not done hearing about this situation.