Deion Sanders won his college football head coaching debut. He did against an NAIA school on a Sunday in February in a stadium with no running water, but he did it. From there it was all downhill. Sanders returned to the locker room to find that his belongings had been stolen during the game. As one does in the social media era, he immediately told the world, starting his press conference by saying he was "pissed off" because during the game someone had stolen "every darn thing" he had in the locker room.
This was a pretty wild press conference moment. He was understandably upset. Choosing to share this seemed like a curious decision at the time and how the next hour or so would unfold did not change that. Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger was on the ground as this all happened, so we have a pretty clear timeline of everything that we were told happened.
Dellenger's first tweet about the incident was at 5:56 p.m. Joe Cook, the sports director for 16 WAPT News, Jackson's local ABC affiliate, tweeted the above video at 6:14 p.m. By the time the video had been posted, Sanders had already left the stadium in a huff. At 6:08. Dellenger tweeted that Sanders was the only one to lose anything and that it was "malicious and targeted."
Then at 7:03, a little over an hour after Sanders' press conference began, Jackson State told SI that the belongings had simply been misplaced and found. Case close. Briefly.
At this point, Sanders went on the offensive against... his own school. Sanders insisted that his things had been stolen and whoever said they weren't was "LYING."
By 8:19 Dellenger had an official statement from Sanders. According to Deion, a female staff member caught someone in the act of stealing his belongings and the thief stashed them somewhere in the stadium. That's where they were recovered.
Finally, Jackson State had to issue a statement admitting that someone had stolen things from "Coach Prime." This was at 9:33p.m, approximately three and a half hours after Sanders broke the news.
So that was weird! Right? To call this miscommunication would be generous. Who was the thief? Were they arrested? If not, why? Why couldn't Jackson State - who probably just wanted this to go away - get on the same page with Sanders? They're telling the press one thing, Sanders another. Rumors tend to spiral out of control during Sanders' short time at the helm. He's sharing the entire experience online.
No matter how upset Sanders was, he had to know this would look bad for the school. (Do not read the replies to any of the tweets embedded here, by the way.) The fact that he felt targeted also seems silly. Of course he was "targeted." He's a rich guy with expensive stuff. Everyone else in that locker room is a college kid.
Is this story just going to go away? That would seem to raise even more questions considering we've been told they know who did it and there is a witness. Watching Sanders - sorry, Coach Prime - and Jackson State handle the fallout from this incident should be... interesting. Sanders is living this coaching experience like a reality television show. So we want to see what's on the next episode.