The former Atlanta Falcons football star took to his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon where he quoted a post from Sports Illustrated that stated that he “did not care for reporters referring to him by his first name at SWAC Media on Tuesday.”
Sanders replied, “Never walked out of media day. I prolonged my time to answer another question & the person thought it was cute to address me the way he did so I dropped the call & went to the next outlet.” He added, “Please don’t allow a fool to fool u because then nobody would truly know who the fool is.”
According to ESPN, during the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Sanders, whose gone by many nicknames throughout his career, including “Prime Time” and “Neon Deion,” made it clear to Clarion Ledger’s Nick Suss that he wanted to be referred to as “Coach.”
“You don’t call Nick Saban, ‘Nick.’ Don’t call me Deion,” Sanders said, referencing the seven-time national champion head coach at the University of Alabama. The Hall of Famer later argued that “if you call Nick [Saban], Nick, you’ll get cussed out on the spot,” adding, “so don’t do that to me. Treat me like Nick.”
While many didn’t see much of an issue with being called by their first name, Sanders still gathered support from others online who also felt that people should be referred to by the titles they hold in a professional setting. One Twitter user commented, “Clarion Ledger always shades JSU, Valley, and Alcorn in some form. They never respect our institutions.” That person added, “Way to set the record straight. If that was y’all’s first interaction then it should’ve been “Coach Sanders/Coach Prime since y’all don’t have that relationship. Common sense.”
Another person wrote, “That media person knows nothing about respect. Deion should be addressed as Coach as long as he is the coach. That reporter needs to go to interviewing etiquette school. Good luck this season Coach.”
“I think people need to call you whatever you want them to call you. Especially after you correct them. If they keep calling you something else after you correct them then they’re not respecting you or your title. Period,” expressed a third.
According to the Clarion Ledger, the reporter representing the paper often calls his interviewees by their first name. “When I interview people, I call them by their first name,” Suss explained. “Whether it’s someone I’ve been working with for years or someone I’m talking to for the first time. This is true of the coaches and players on the Ole Miss beat, the coaches and players at Mississippi State and Southern Miss when I help out covering their teams and, as recently as January, even Sanders, too.”