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Deion Sanders: Being Purpose-Driven Isn't Popular

Plus, 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Mad




After Jackson State University (JSU) defeated Southern University on Saturday, Colorado State University officially announced Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders as their new head football coach with a moving press conference. Yes, Deion Sanders is leaving JSU after an impressive three seasons of wins and two SWAC championships.


As you'd expect, there are mixed reactions to Sanders' decision to advance his coaching career at Colorado. Some are celebratory and supportive of Sanders, while many other fans and stakeholders question his motives for leaving, his loyalty to African Americans, and the impact of his decision on JSU's football program.


But if you have followed Coach Prime's social media or press conference for even a short period of time, the one thing you do not have to question is this: Deion Sanders knows his purpose and he is walking in it. As such, you can be sure of this: When you know your divine purpose and you allow your purpose to determine your path alone, you are bound to make people angry. Let's be honest, being purpose-driven is not popular, preferred, or promoted by most people, mainly because most people do not know their divine purpose or calling (why God made them; why they exist).


When you know your divine purpose and you allow your purpose to determine your path alone, you are bound to make people angry.

Sanders expressed his concerns with some of the comments he's received regarding his leaving during the press conference and said, "The thing that alarms me the most is just because I’m leaving Jackson, they think that I’m leaving African Americans. I don’t know if you noticed or not, but I’m Black. I can never leave who I am or what I am or how I am or how I go about being that. My calling is for young men, young women, people of all walk of life. Of all social climates and ethnicities. That’s my calling. My calling is not built on a location. It’s built on a destination."


He gets it. He knows what God requires of him and he knows to whom God has sent him. Do you? I can't imagine that anyone who does know their purpose is angry or disappointed with Deion Sanders.


I can't imagine that anyone who does know their purpose is angry or disappointed with Deion Sanders.

So, how do you feel about Sanders leaving? If you are angry or disappointed, I've put together a list of reasons that you actually should be mad.


1. Be mad that HBCUs are not in a better position (for various reasons) to retain top talent and compete with offers from majority-white universities like Colorado State University due to systemic inequalities and inequities. (See https://www.acenet.edu/News-Room/Pages/ACE-Brief-Illustrates-HBCU-Funding-Inequities.aspx)


2. Be mad that JSU graciously took Deion Sanders' donation of half of his salary to help pay for dire upgrades to JSU's football facilities and then he was robbed of personal items in those same facilities TWICE -- one being on the day of his coaching debut -- and STILL he repeatedly had to reject rumors that he was lying.


3. Be mad that as of November 7, 2022, there are only 13 Black head coaches at NCAA FBS programs, representing less than 10% of the head coaches at the 131 member institutions, while over 43% of college football players are Black.


4. Be mad that there aren't more retired, Black NFL athletes who feel called (or at least have the opportunity) to coach teams at HBCUs to be an agent of change, a strong male role model for African-American men, and a courageous man of God like Deion Sanders.


5. Be mad that some people are allowing Coach Prime's leaving to overshadow the indelible, transformational, and refreshing impact he made on JSU football program. For example, Good Morning America made history when they broadcasted their show live at JSU's Homecoming this year and the band "Sonic Boom of the South" performed. This was a major moment for ALL HBCUs, not just JSU.


6. Be mad that most of the people who are mad at Deion Sanders likely did not attend an HBCU, do not donate to HBCUs, and do not intentionally support minority-owned businesses, programs, or initiatives in any way.


And,


7. Be mad that anyone has the audacity to think they have the right to question or influence someone's career decision without knowing their divine purpose, understanding what is best for them, or knowing what they need.


So for those of you who are struggling with Deion Sanders' decision, here are

5 Facts About Purpose-Driven Behavior to remember and reflect on:


1. God determines someone's purpose in life, NOT you (or me). You did not create him or her; God did.


2. Everyone has his/her own journey in life. Let them live it.


3. Everyone is not motivated by what motivates you, so do not make assumptions.


4. Others do not have to agree with the agenda (mission/role/goals/expectations) you have for them.


5. We are first accountable to God, then family, employer, team, etc. So, where do you fit into that person's life?

Coach Prime is very clear about what he believes his purpose is. As a spiritual being, he's simply pursuing purpose and purpose-driven partnerships as we all should. He is a builder and that is what he must do.


Builders recognize builders, and builders understand that you want to be where you are necessary, not redundant; where you are constructive, not comfortable. Builders are not afraid of the unknown and they are willing to do more of what others are unwilling to do. That's the job.


My prayer is that we executives all make the RIGHT decision -- not the easy or popular decision -- that aligns with our purpose EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I can only pray Coach Prime continues to do the same.


My prayer is that we executives all make the RIGHT decision -- not the easy or popular decision -- that aligns with our purpose EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Whereas I'm sad to see Sanders leave Jackson State University, it's been great to see the public have a captivating interest in HBCU athletic programs these past three years and the paternal leadership he demonstrated for these young black men. Moreover, I believe many of us have also been blessed by his platform and his taking every opportunity to inspire. He has modelled what any athletic program has the opportunity to be with leaders who take a special interest in the dignity, development, and duty of their students. Nonetheless, it was and never will be one man's responsibility.


I'm excited witness Deion Sanders' journey at Colorado and the team's transformation on and off the field.