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Deion Sanders rejects Nick Saban's private chat, wants to talk publicly

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The fallout of Nick Saban's comments on Texas A&M and Jackson State is still unfolding, and Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders wants the public to see it all.

The NFL Hall of Famer-turned-coach told Andscape's Jean-Jacques Taylor on Thursday that he would like a public conservation regarding the Alabama coach's claims that Sanders' program paid top recruit Travis Hunter $1 million for his commitment.

Saban has since apologized for singling out Jackson State and Texas A&M while criticizing the current NIL landscape. Andscape reports Saban reached out to Sanders' representatives for a private conversation, which Sanders publicly rejected:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he’s tried to call. We need to talk publicly — not privately. What you said was public. That doesn’t require a conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation,” Sanders told Andscape on Thursday.

“You can’t do that publicly and call privately. No, no, no. I still love him. I admire him. I respect him. He’s the magna cum laude of college football and that’s what it’s going to be because he’s earned that.

“But he took a left when he should’ve stayed right. I’m sure he’ll get back on course. I ain’t tripping.”

Sanders had already responded publicly to Saban via Twitter, claiming the comment in front of local business leaders in Birmingham was an outright lie and noting that he himself doesn't make $1 million from Jackson State.

Andscape reports that Hunter, a five-star cornerback, currently has two NIL deals and two others pending, worth a total less than $250,000.

Sanders has filmed several Aflac commercials alongside Saban, and has held the coach in high enough regard to use him as an example while scolding reporters for not calling him "Coach." Still, he issued a warning to the coach and all others that he knows how recruits were paid before the NIL rules.

“I don’t even wear a watch and I know what time it is. They forget I know who’s been bringing the bag and dropping it off,” Sanders said. “I know this stuff. I’m not the one you want to play with when it comes to all of this stuff.”

That may be a firm response from Sanders, but it is mild compared to how Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher reacted to his former boss.

Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders speaks to the fans prior to the Jackson State's Blue and White Spring football game, an NCAA college football contest, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Deion Sanders knows plenty about how college football used to pay players. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)