Students respond to ‘the handshake heard around the world’


Jake Crandall/Montgomery Advertiser

Immediately after the game between Jackson State University and Alabama State University, both coaches met midfield to offer congratulatory shakes for the contest.

Brionna McCall, University News Reporter/Writer

After the football game ended between Alabama State University and Jackson State University on Saturday, Oct. 8, a “handshake” dispute between Alabama State University’s head football coach Eddie Robinson Jr. and Jackson State University’s head football coach Deion Sanders headlined the national and world media portals.
Because the controversy became an issue so rapidly, Alabama State University students decided to weigh in about how they felt situation was handled.
Tashara Johnson, a sophomore criminal justice major, thinks the situation was handled unprofessionally.
“I do understand the frustration from Coach Robinson’s standpoint,” she said. “This was an important game and Sanders was being a bit childish, taunting ASU football players, but it is football so you have to be able to take the heat.”
Topanga Anderson, a junior accounting major, believes Robinson handled the situation appropriately without doing way too much.
“There were also a lot of words exchanged through the media leading up to the game and things going on pregame,” she said. “He (Robinson) felt disrespected and that was his reaction. Respect is earned.”
Yeraldin Flores, a senior marine biology major, believes what Robinson said about Sanders during the press conference is true.
“Deion Sanders ain’t SWAC because he chose a PWI over an HBCU,” she said. “At the same time, Deion Sanders was talking trash about our school, our coach and our football players. You can have respect from the beginning, but you can easily get disrespect as well. It’s harder to gain respect after you already disrespected everyone at ASU. Deion Sanders tried to be good buddies after the game, and honestly, why would Coach Eddie Robinson embrace a hug after Sanders disrespected everyone at our university?”
Kaiya King, a sophomore dance major, said that Deion Sanders has always been known in the sports world for giving fans a show.
“All that talk he did leading up to our game with him was a show,” she said. “As far as the incident on the field, I don’t believe it should have blown up and spread all on social media as it did. I truly believe Coach Rob wasn’t mad we lost. We lost before and he didn’t respond that way. It was all the energy of disrespect before and during game day Sanders brought to our home. In my opinion, most people including me just wanted to see a good game and that’s it! All the drama and smack talk for the media, money, and much more can be left alone. Just leave it all out on the field and let the players speak for themselves in football! With that being said, we are SWAC.”
Jaicee Christian, a senior communications major, said from Coach Robinson’s point of view, as a coach, you would not want anyone walking through your team warming up ready to play a homecoming game.
“You should be coming to shake my hand or at least be by your team the whole time,” he said. “Like why are you walking through our stuff and think that you are not going to get disrespected or cursed at, and this is a rival game. Personally, I really don’t see anything wrong with it because it is a rivalry game. Do you not think that the energy is not going to be there? It’s football, it’s not a soft sport. There are words that you are not going to want to hear, there are things that you are not going to want to see, but it’s a tough sport, it’s football.”
Christain wanted to elaborate about Sanders’ point of view of the homecoming game situation.
“From Deion Sanders’ point of view, I get it,” Christian said. “You sold the game, which is what you’re supposed to do, I mean you’re Prime Time it makes sense. You sold the game, you got the fans there, you bought 12,000 tickets yourself, and I get that, you’re supporting black colleges. You invested money on homecoming, great job. Then again, once we end the game I expect you to shake my hand, win or lose. It’s called being a good sport, and when I come in trying to hug you, it’s like ‘nah I don’t want it,’ and you shove me, but in a sense, he didn’t shove him.
Christian concludes his summary.
“Looking at this whole situation, it could’ve been avoided, but there are things that kind of came together that made this scene happen … At the end of the day, it’s something that sparked a huge rivalry, and it’s going to be a game that someone is always going to want to see whether it be homecoming or a regular season game.”