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Deion Sanders is currently in his first month as head football coach at Colorado. Though as he begins his tenure at Boulder, his time at Jackson State is on full display and one particular moment has created controversy.
Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, knows a thing or two about what it takes to win. He has also made it a point of emphasis for his reach to extend beyond the gridiron.
While the final score is important, Coach Prime wants to better his players off of the field as well. He wants them to be the best professionals, husbands, fathers and community members that they can be.
That was evident throughout the last three years and is evident throughout the series.
— HOWEVER —
While there are quite a few positive, uplifting moments throughout the documentary series, one more serious moment stands out. Sanders stood up in front of his team and dismissed wide receiver Mark Pope from the program after taking a poll of his players.
Here is the clip:
Pope, a former four-star recruit, committed to Miami out of high school in the Class of 2018. He transferred to Jackson State last summer, before he re-entered the transfer portal just two weeks prior to the start of the 2022 season.
Pope ultimately stuck with the Tigers and caught just one catch for 15 yards. He entered the transfer portal again on Dec. 5.
Why did Deion Sanders cut Mark Pope?
The entire story behind Pope’s dismissal is unclear. Neither Sanders, nor Jackson State released any information on the decision, other than what was displayed in the documentary series.
Mark Pope addressed his dismissal in a since-deleted tweet.
No disrespect to anyone but, it’s 3 sides to every story. Mines, theirs and the truth. So I’m going to tell mine. I’m going to start by saying I never disrespected ANYBODY such as my coaches, teammates, and anyone else within the building. I have NEVER been a bad kid to be labeled as a “cancer”. Moreover, July 5th was my very first day going to Jackson. I went up there to practice with the team and I was not enrolled nor did I have a physical to even practice but, they still threw me out there and I ended up getting hurt, which was not my fault. I came back to Jackson in august around camp due to me still finishing my class at UM. I missed my first week of camp due to my injury. First game they didn’t take me to travel for no reason whatsoever. When I entered the transfer portal first game I was let back on the team the following week and this was the only chance I was given. I never needed “2” or “3” chances because I never did anything wrong to ask for another chance. After letting me back onto the team coach Prime himself vouched for me to play Grambling state game. Moving forward I never was able to get any reps in practice for NO reason at all! They never gave me a full drive in a game. They would give me at the most 3 plays. Moral of the story I was never give a CHANCE!! because of this I stated “F*** this s*** I’m ready to go home”, which resulted in me being kicked off the team. I never spoke down about the JSU “Family” nor did I speak harmful to anyone on this team. I’ll end it with this!! Overall I’m still grateful for the opportunity that was given to me thanks coach Prime. 🙏🏾— Mark Pope
The full truth, as Pope said, may never come to light. He has his story and Deion Sanders has his story.