Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback and head coach of Jackson State football, walked out of an interview on Tuesday after a reporter refused to call him “coach.”
Sanders, who is entering his second year with Jackson State, corrected a reporter after he referred to him by his first name during the Southwestern Athletic Conference media day event.
“Back up a little bit. You don’t call [Alabama’s] Nick Saban ‘Nick.’ Don’t call me ‘Deion,’” Sanders said interrupting Clarion-Ledger reporter Nick Suss.
“I call Nick Saban ‘Nick,’” Suss replied.
“No, you don’t. No, you don’t. That’s a lie,” Sanders fired back. “If you call Nick ‘Nick’ you get cussed out on the spot. So don’t do that and treat me like Nick.”
Suss, not taking Sanders’ advice, replied: “OK, Deion.”
The NFL legend, feeling slighted, took his headset off and walked away.
“Never walked out of media day,” Sanders, who goes by Coach Prime on his Twitter account, said in a tweet. “I prolonged my time to answer another question & the person thought it was cute to address me the way he did so I dropped the call & went to the next outlet. Please don’t allow a fool to fool u because then nobody would truly know who the fool is.”
Suss explained to the Ledger that he calls everyone that he interviews by their first name.
“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.”
Saban was asked about the situation during an appearance at the SEC media day on Wednesday.
”Look, I respond to just about anything and I’ve been called just about everything,” Saban said, via AL.com. “It’s not something that’s important to me.”
“I think everybody should have the opportunity to sort of make or create their expectation of how they get addressed.”