Which one is right – Sanders or Robinson?


Khalil Stewart, Sports and Intramurals Editor

“He ain’t SWAC, I’m SWAC,” were the words of Alabama State football head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. in response to Jackson State football head coach Deion Sanders.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is widely considered as the premier conference for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) and both universities are a member of this conference.
After an intense football game last week between the two universities, Robinson did not accept a “bro-hug” from Sanders during the congratulatory handshake that all coaches usually extend after the contest. Both coaches expressed their feelings after the game, however, after taking a look at this situation, both coaches could have handled things better.
Let us start with Robinson, I think that he could have delivered his message in a more professional manner.
The saying goes, “When emotions are high, logic is low.” Nobody else should understand that more than Robinson as a former athlete and media personality. He made many valid points during the post-game press conference about Sanders; however, the message was lost in the way that he delivered it.
There are members of the media that are painting Robinson as this ‘bad guy’ because of the manner in which he delivered his message, and because he is not the most popular of the two. We know the kind of influence Sanders has had on the world since he stepped on the scene in 1989. They are being biased and not telling both sides of the story.
Sanders is also wrong. During the week of the game, he accused the university of choosing Jackson State as a homecoming opponent as a way to make more money, saying, “All money is not good money.” He also rambled on about how bad they were going to dominate the game. Fortunately for Alabama State University, that did not happen. The truth is the game was much closer than even he expected.
When Robinson said Sanders is not SWAC. He simply meant that he did not play his undergraduate years in the SWAC. He had not contributed to the SWAC before arriving at Jackson State two years ago. He was not raised in the conference like Robinson. Sanders attended Florida State University that gave him the exposure and opportunities that athletes who attended HBCUs could only dream of.
However, no one can undervalue the work that Sanders has done since coming to the SWAC. He has placed a light on the concept of ‘equity’ in the conference that had never before been spolighted in the media like it has since his arrival at Jackson State University.
The AFLAC commercials that Sanders has filmed with Coach Nick Saban have also allowed HBCUs to be spotlighted in a way that they had never been before.
Robinson mentioned that he hopes Sanders does not get a Power Five job so they face off again next season. I believe that Sanders would like the two to face off also. I agree that the game will be packed because people love controversy and that “handshake” caused controversy.
However, before both coaches face off again, the temperature needs to cool off.
Sanders is a natural promoter and knows how to market a football game. However, sometimes his words can cross lines into the ‘land of disrespect,’ that causes bad feelings. Robinson, on the other hand, was the voice of the voiceless. I do not think he meant any harm by any of his words, but as a media personality, his words should always be professional. He did apologize for his unprofessionalism.