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Deion Sanders is unapologetically himself in every moment and he wants others to be/act the same. However, his desire for authenticity led to an awkward moment during a recent interview.
As his program gears up for Saturday’s game against Bethune-Cookman, Coach Prime sat down with Jackson State’s Assistant Athletic Director for Broadcasting and Video Services, Rob Jay. Jay spent a large chunk of his career in local news and is a legend in the middle-Mississippi area.
He and Sanders got together earlier this week to talk about the upcoming game. As Jay asked Coach Prime how he was doing to begin the interview, things quickly went in a different direction.
Sanders said that Jay was “not talking like that just two minutes ago” and asked the interviewer to “come in how [he] normally sound[s].” Jay stated that he wants to be clear, concise and professional, to which Sanders asked if “being him” was not professional.
In response, Jay explained that he can’t be on camera with his relaxed, casual tone. From there, the pair went back-and-forth about how to conduct the interview, with Sanders at one point taking the microphone and giving an example of what he means. It was uncomfortable.
There is a lot to unpack with Deion Sanders’ interview with Rob Jay
First and foremost, look at Jay’s face after Sanders does his “impression.” He was not having it. And understandably so.
Secondly, Coach Prime and Jay have been doing this for awhile. This was not their first interview together and as tense as things may seem, they go back. They’re like that. This wasn’t just a one-off thing where there is no previous relationship.
With all of that being said, the message that Coach Prime is trying to convey is admirable. He wants everyone to be authentic and true to themselves.
But his delivery was wrong and Sanders lacked awareness to Jay’s job.
Jay, just like every reporter ever, turned on his “broadcast voice” once the interview began. He has to annunciate, he has to use proper grammar, etc. It’s part of the job and Coach Prime should recognize that without jumping down his throat.
Additionally, there was some hypocrisy to what Sanders said.
Just last year, he got upset with a reporter for calling him by his first name and walked out of an interview.
So does he want reporters to be professional or not? pic.twitter.com/ayPMECh3ek— Brennon Chapman (@BrennonChapman) October 14, 2022
If Sanders wants to call out a reporter for being unprofessional, it sends mixed messages when he turns around a year later and calls out a reporter for being… too professional?
Coach Prime is doing great things at Jackson State. For the school, for the team, for the conference, for the community and for the culture. That doesn’t make his interaction with Jay any less bizarre, uncalled for, or rude, even if his underlying message came from a good place.