Deion Sanders is serious about being called "Coach Prime," or at least about not being called by his first name. This was confirmed on Tuesday as the former NFL megastar and second-year coach at Jackson State walked out of an appearance at SWAC Media Day after a reporter referred to him as "Deion," according the Clarion-Ledger.
"If you call Nick (Saban), Nick, you'll get cussed out on the spot, so don't do that to me," Sanders said. "Treat me like Nick."
Sanders eventually addressed the matter on Twitter and denied he walked out of the interview session -- admitting he did move on to another media outlet while providing proof.
This is how all of this started, I really Pray for all of us because this was something so minimal that was hilarious to me that you allowed a FOOLISH media outlet and person to play on your Preconceived notions. I’m all about Peace,Love,Work,Commitment,Sacrifice & Forgiveness. pic.twitter.com/ZjZPMVJVfj— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) July 21, 2021
Sanders' reference to Saban came after a debate erupted late in the 2020 season over whether it is appropriate for reporters to call Saban by his first name when addressing the legendary coach. Saban never weighed in on the matter and doesn't seem to care what he's called. Reporters customarily address the coaches they cover -- even Saban -- by their first names without being cussed out.
The Clarion-Ledger reporter covering Jackson State on Tuesday told his newspaper that he calls everyone he interviews by their first name. Many reporters who regularly cover Alabama do the same, and do so without any quarrel from Saban.
During his Wednesday appearance at SEC Media Days, Saban made it clear he doesn't care what he's called. But then again, he doesn't have a nickname nearly as cool as "Coach Prime."
So how does Nick Saban like to be addressed? “I respond to just about anything. I’ve been called just about everything.”— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) July 21, 2021
Adds: “It’s not something important to me.”