UPDATE on May 1st, 2022 at 8:45 PM: Deion Sanders’ son, Deion Sanders Jr., originally posted the comments. Then Sanders shared the description, verbatim, on his Instagram feed. Article was updated for accuracy.
There is no love lost between Deion Sanders and the Detroit Lions. Many still discuss his shunning of the team in 1989. During that year’s draft, he didn’t mince words regarding the Lions. He didn’t want to come to Detroit, who had the third overall pick that year.
Fast forward 33 years later, and both parties are in conversation again during draft time. And while it was on the verge of being for a good reason, Sanders’ Instagram post put a cloud over it.
With the 217th pick in this year’s draft, the Lions selected Jackson State (JSU) defensive end, James Houston. The selection of Houston marks the first player drafted by an NFL team during Sanders’ tenure as JSU head coach.
This was a moment worth celebrating. Instead, Sanders took to Instagram to voice his displeasure with the Detroit Lions.
Sanders took issue with the Lions using Houston’s footage from his time at Florida instead of JSU. He did so by sharing a post from his son, Deion Sanders Jr., to his Instagram page.
“You serious @detroitlionsnfl? You post James Houston’s University of Florida Highlights instead of his at Jackson State?,” wrote Sanders. “With all the trials we go through at HBCU’s, you can at least give us the credit & recognition we deserve. Don’t punish HBCU’s nor our players over A QUOTE that my dad said over 20 something years ago….”
“Btw – At JSU he had 70 tackles (52 solo), 24.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, & 2 defensive touchdowns.”
Ouch. If you took what Sanders Jr. said at without thinking of the whole context, you’d say he was spot on.
However, Prime Time is wrong to vouch for his son’s criticism here. And in a big way.
The Detroit Lions didn’t intentionally not use his JSU highlights. In fact, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reports they didn’t have access to them. And on top of that, JSU didn’t respond to the Lions’ request for them.
So they had to roll with what was available.
If this is indeed the case, Deion Sanders owes the Detroit Lions a public apology co-signing his son’s comments. Because that meant his criticism wasn’t in-bounds. And it unfairly puts the Lions in a bad light.
It also doesn’t make any sense for the Lions to intentionally overlook Houston’s JSU highlights. Why?
Well, Brad Holmes is why.
Just like Houston, Holmes is a product of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Holmes is a graduate of North Carolina A&T. Throughout the year, he said that he’d give HBCU players a look during the draft. Selecting Houston was making good on that word.
With Holmes being a HBCU graduate, it doesn’t make any sense he’d be ok with his media department making a highlight reel for Houston and not using that footage.
Frankly, one would assume that’d be a proud moment for Holmes. The HBCU community is a rather close unit, regardless of which one a person attended. They look out for one another and create opportunities.
To be clear, I don’t think that’s the only reason Holmes selected Houston. His job as the Lions’ general manager is to draft the best talent for the team. That’s why the Lions drafted Houston. And that should be the sole focus.
Houston is one of four HBCU players drafted by NFL teams this year. He joins Joshua Williams (Chiefs), Decobie Durant (Rams), and Ja’Tyre Carter (Bears).
Deion Sanders should be celebrating this moment, not indirectly sandbagging Holmes. Because creating controversy over the Lions not using highlights his school didn’t make available isn’t the way to go.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.