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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 addressed the matter later on Twitter and denied he walked out of the interview session, but admitting he did move on to another media outlet.
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.
But then again, Saban doesn’t have a nickname nearly as cool as “Coach Prime.” Perhaps when Saban takes the stage at SEC Media Days on Wednesday, he will lend some credence to Sanders’ baseless assertion by storming off the stage the first time anyone refers to him as something other than “the GOAT.”