Deiondra Sanders’ lies about JSU are detrimental 


Kendal Manns is the editor-in-chief for the 2022-23 The Hornet Tribune staff. He is a 21-year old junior from Baltimore, Maryland whose major is communications. His career ambition is to become a sports journalist for a professional sports team.

Kendal Manns, Editor-in-Chief

     The Deion Sanders-Jackson State University saga is over. 

     Both parties have moved on with their own futures. This was true until Sanders’ oldest daughter Deiondra decided to talk about Jackson State University recently.

         When asked about Jackson State University on an episode of the Baller Alert Podcast, Deiondra said, “People don’t know that there are killings on the campus every few months.”

         Not only is this type of comment controversial but it is blatantly false. According to HBCU Gameday, there was only one murder during her father’s tenure at the university, which was the late Flynn Brown. This single murder also happened within the final weeks of Deion Sanders’ tenure in Dec. 2022.

         This type of disinformation is detrimental to any institution of higher learning but especially to a historically Black college and or university (HBCU). There are a number of dangerous stereotypes surrounding HBCUs, especially that they are filled with crime. While there may be some truth to these stereotypes in certain instances, it is not an absolute. Crime occurs on college campuses no matter where they are located.

         To make things worse, Deiondra attempted to apologize for her words after getting immense backlash on social media in the days following the episode’s release.

         “I do feel like that I over-exaggerated due to the fact that every time I did come to town I was made aware of shootings, murders, robberies on campus, around campus and in the city. But I really do apologize for what I said,” she said in her post on Instagram.

         My first issue is that this sounds much more like a double-down of what she previously said than an apology. She is also arguing two separate points. Saying the city of Jackson, Mississippi has shootings and murders is a totally different than saying the JSU campus itself does. It makes a big difference, especially in the eyes of mainstream media who have no idea if she is being factual or not. That was not all she said either.

“It’s just that things did happen while my family was there that the public was not made aware of,” she said. “But I definitely shouldn’t have exaggerated like that and I do want to say that I apologize for that. So I apologize to the whole JSU community, JSU campus and everyone that’s a part of JSU.”

     What I took from her comments is that she was saying her family had inside information about crimes that were going on and those crimes are what led her to say what she said. Correct me if I am wrong but crimes are always reported to the public, especially murders. Why would the Sanders family be the only ones to know about something that potentially affects every member of the public, let alone those on campus?

     Despite neither attending the university nor having any relationship with the university except for her last name, Deiondra’s words mean something. Mainstream fell in love with her father and everything he did at JSU in his three seasons there. He and his sons brought more attention, money and resources to JSU and other HBCUs as well. That contribution should never be forgotten. But when a member of this family speaks about things that did not occur that also pushes a negative narrative, it is detrimental to everything that the university and HBCUs as a whole stand for.

     Personally, it would have been better if she just said “no comment.” Everything is not always great at any university and I am not going to pretend JSU should be any different. The Sanders family may have not always had the best of times there either. I just feel like Deiondra’s words were over the top, especially considering they were lies. She did not have to give JSU glowing reviews but she also did not have to go to extremes in the other direction. 

     This situation is so frustrating because it may seem insignificant to some but those negative narratives are hard enough to shake without having highly recognizable names speaking out on false facts. I think this is a lesson that words hold power, especially when they come from those with recognizable names. 

     Negative narratives about HBCUs being dangerous have been around since their inception and Deiondra’s words just added fuel to the fire. I personally believe her words smeared the legacy of her father a little, because he set out to help HBCUs not hurt them. I hope Deiondra learned her lesson but based on her apology, I highly doubt it.

     As stated previously, Deion Sanders’ time is over at JSU. There should not be any more negative headlines surrounding JSU and the Sanders family. It is over. Time to move on with no more shots being taken from either side.