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Deion Sanders' debut as Jackson State football coach looked like reason for celebration.
After their fall season was delayed because of COVID-19, the Tigers opened the Prime Time era with a 53-0 win over Edward Waters on Sunday. Prior to the game, Sanders got a visit from former Dallas Cowboys teammate and fellow football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman that Sanders said moved him to tears.
All seemed well in western Mississippi. That is, until Sanders' postgame news conference.
Sanders: I was robbed
The first-year head coach was happy with his team's performance. But he told reporters he was robbed of his cellphone, watches and credit cards during the game.
"No. 1, the kids played really well," Sanders said. "But while the game was going on, somebody came in and stole every darn thing I had in the locker room, coaches' office. Credit cards, wallet, watches. Thank God I had on my necklaces.
Sanders calls out Jackson State security
Sanders then took a moment to collect himself before adding Jackson State security to the areas in need of improvement under his watch.
"So when I have to talk about quality, raising the standards — that goes for everyone, man," Sanders continued. "Not just the people on the field, not just the coaches, not just the teachers, not just the faculty. But everybody — security and everybody.
"So how do you think it feels, coming back, after just teary-eyed because the guys had presented me with the game ball, one of the best moments I've ever had in my professional sports career emotionally. And then you go into your locker room, your coach's office to digress, and you notice that you don't even have a phone to call your mama, call your girl, call your kids because it's been stolen. ... We're gonna find out who did it."
Property recovered ... was it all a misunderstanding?
Then, seemingly good news broke with a Jackson State official telling reporters that Sanders' property wasn't stolen, but "misplaced" and "secured" by a JSU staffer, per reports. Sanders got his stuff back.
Except Sanders wasn't having it. He responded to a report on Twitter with an explanation that his assistant caught the alleged thief in the act and that there was "no miscommunication my man at all."
He then declared that the source who said there was no theft was "lying" and reiterated that one of his staffers witnessed the alleged theft.
Bad news at Jackson St. either way
Sanders' arrival at Jackson State was expected to shine a spotlight on the program. But this is obviously not the publicity the university had in mind when hiring the flamboyant Hall of Fame cornerback.
For now, the best-case scenario has Sanders mistakenly accusing somebody on campus of theft and implying a cover-up that appears to be pointed at Jackson State. At worst, somebody did actually attempt to steal Sanders' property before being caught.
Either way, it's enough to cast an ominous shadow on what was otherwise a day of celebration in Jackson.
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