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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Deion Sanders Is A Masterclass in Leveling-Up

Fox News

By all intents and purposes, Deion Sander’s decision to part ways with Jackson State to become the headfootball coach at the University of Colorado was crystal clear. The former NFL superstar signed a five-year, $29.5 million dollar contract with Colorado which was a major leap from his four-year, $1.4 million dollar contract at Jackson. Not to mention Sanders would be given the most lucrative contract of any football coach in the university’s history.

Most of us were disappointed and even mad that he left Jackson State, including those of us who aren’t necessarily college football fans.

Jackson State, a historically Black institution in Mississippi, finally had a chance for visibility; a chance for the football program to get their fair shot. However, after three seasons, Coach Prime left with a big wind of criticism and discontent. His exit seemed to reinforce all the reasons HBCUs can’t seem to catch a break.

The truth is, Sanders never misled us about the possibility to move on to greater things. During an interview on 60 Minutes, when asked if he would consider coaching offers from major-conference schools, he said: “I’m going to have to entertain it. Straight-up. I’d be a fool not to.”

Sanders also seemed to understand his assignment at Jackson State, telling ABC’s Good Morning America that “God led me to Jackson State.”

However, most of us weren’t able to connect the dots, not that it was any of our business to do so. Still, we didn’t want to hear it. All we could see was a successful Black former NFL star giving up on a Black institution and deflating hope for Black players that needed him, just to chase money and notoriety.

No doubt, Sanders deserves credit for what he achieved at Jackson State. His departure was a blow, but fixing problems that have overwhelmed HBCUs for decades was never his charge. As hard as it may be to accept, Sanders and Jackson State were a part of each other’s journeys.

I can remember in 2015 when I broke the news to my family that I was moving to Houston. It came as a definite surprise, even though I had been mentioning that I wanted to move. With me making a definite decision, though, it had become real. I had my own personal reasons in full view and went forth with my plans. Yet, after just two years, I announced I was moving to Los Angeles. Well, let’s just say this decision caused much more of a stir. So much so, my sister didn’t speak to me for months.

The thing about leveling up is that it’s not comfortable. Some will have their doubts about what the heck you’re doing and what you’re doing it for.

No matter how explicitly and carefully you explain your journey, some people are going to object because it’s not what they saw for you. Your decision to do what’s next sometimes goes against the plans that others have for you. Yes, it’s selfish but it’s also human nature. As long as everything stays the same, we don’t have to think outside the box. We can stay where it’s cozy; comfortable; predictable and safe.

Yahoo Sports

Deion Sanders has not only elevated himself but those around him. When he announced to his players at Jackson State that he was taking the head coaching position in Colorado, 24 players entered the transfer portal; nine of those players joined Sanders at Colorado, including defensive back/wide receiver Travis Hunter, and Sanders’ two sons, quarterback Shedeur Sanders and safety Shilo Sanders.

You don’t have to be a sports fan to understand the opportunities these players now have being seen on larger platforms. It was also no surprise that he brought along his trusted assistants from Jackson State with him to Colorado. Now, everyone has a seat at the table.

In a recent press conference, Deion Sanders said this: “We’re doing things that have never been done and that makes people uncomfortable. When you see a confident Black man sitting up here talking his talk and walking his walk, coaching 75 percent African-Americans in the locker room, that’s kind of threatening. Oh, they don’t like that…but guess what, we’re going to consistently do what we do, because I’m here and I ain’t going nowhere, and I’m about to get comfortable in a minute.”

In order to get something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do some things you’ve never done. That requires upsetting some folks; that requires going places and making decisions that aren’t popular opinion. You may lose people along the way. But guess what? Where God is taking you will not change.

When we talk about generational wealth in the Black community, is this not what we strive for? To be able to increase our world view and our net worth to take care of our children and our children’s children? We do this every day by making the decision to take a better paying job, or moving to a different city with more opportunity. We make sacrifices now in order to reap the rewards later.

It's time to stop being mad at Coach Prime, y’all. Some don’t like that he’s head coach at a PWI (predominantly white institution). Some say he’s not qualified. Some say he talks too much; has too much bravado energy. It’s time to get over it. He already told you… he ain’t going nowhere.

We’ve already seen several high-profile Black men making their way to Boulder to show their unwavering support for Sanders. We see you. And so does he. He knows who’s coming through for the right reasons, and those just clout-chasing for Instagram.

We can be certain that after back-to-back victories against TCU and Nebraska, the wins are going to keep coming. And the haters will keep doing what they do. But the truth will set everybody free.

Lesson learned.


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