Prime Notes

by: Jameel Rashad Patterson

Jameel Rashad Patterson comments on the decision Deion Sanders made to accept the offer of Head Coach at the University of Colorado. Sanders’s decision has drawn controversy given he left Jackson State University, a beloved HBCU in Mississippi.

Special to The Dreher Report

I see both sides of it. It would have been cool if he could have ushered in a new era where the Black community had stake in the talent base of Black athletes. Ultimately, we do not know what Deion Sanders went through as coach of Jackson State, how much support he received, and how the HBCU community welcomed him.

I guarantee you this: Somebody at Jackson State and in the HBCU world is happy he is gone.

From my experience, some members of the Black community would rather keep things the way they are because they benefit some kind of way. Even when Nick Saban [head coach at the University of Alabama] came at Prime, there were probably people in the HBCU world who agreed with him. People usually side with power. Even the people bashing Prime for doing what he deems to be best for him and his family probably do the same thing in their own communities and families.

We really stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, our people who stuck together and created networks. We are not the same as our ancestors, however, even though we stand on common historical ground. They owned sports teams, built communities together. Our ancestors started these colleges, and supported the civil rights movement. In some ways, that’s not our culture today. We bend toward individualism.

In essence, Coach Prime talked a good game so that is why he is getting criticism. Oftentimes when we embark on agendas for the Black community we are not prepared for Black people to be adversarial with us. That’s disheartening, and if Prime went through that, I do not blame him for leaving.

Ultimately we want Prime to lead a grassroots effort of building from the ground up. It is not that we do not have the parts, it is a kind of culture we have embraced for the past four decades in which those parts do not operate in unison. It is an individualistic type culture. Some of us still have the communal ways of our ancestors but those ways are not the dominant culture in Black America .

One of those parts is the HBCU. Why don’t we see rich Black athletes putting their money together to create conglomerates? We say we need to start our own league well Ice Cube did it but you do not see Jay Z, Dre, Puff or whoever helping him for purpose creating our own institutions. It’s obvious: the incentives are not here but can be found in the 40s and 30s, those times. I am not mad at Prime moving with the current of the culture. We have to embrace change and embrace new ideas or a culture of individualism will take shape. I say let’s change the culture.

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