Spring practice is right around the corner as college football programs gear up for the year ahead. Unfortunately, Deion Sanders finds himself immersed in a bit of controversy as he eyes Year 1 in Boulder.
The head coach took over at Colorado after spending a trio of seasons at Jackson State. Some issues that stem back to his time with the Tigers, though, have brought about criticism from an outside party.
An atheist group called the coach out in a letter penned to Colorado brass. That letter, which is dated January 24th, states that “multiple Colorado residents” have reached out about Sanders’ infusion of his religious views into the football program.
Here’s more from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
It is our understanding that on December 20, 2022, a staff member led other staff members in a Christian prayer to start an official meeting. More egregiously, on January 16, 2023, Coach Sanders directed a staff member to lead players and coaches in Christian prayer before a team meeting.
It appears from these examples that Coach Sanders includes prayer in all his team meetings and events, and likely prays regularly with the team.
The letter goes on to pull claims from Deion Sanders’ time at Jackson State.
While he was coaching at Jackson State, he required his team to participate in a call and response prayer. He gathered all his players and told them:
- Repeat after me… Lord, I love you. Lord, I thank you. Lord, I magnify you. Lord, I glorify you. Keep us, guide us, lead us, protect us, direct us. Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord for everything, for all things, for more to come. Without You, I wouldn’t be a thing! A thing! A thing! In Jesus name. Amen.
The foundation then called upon the university to ensure that Deion Sanders “understands that he has been hired as a football coach and not a pastor.”
This criticism comes as Sanders and the Buffaloes get ready for spring practice. Colorado is expected to begin its offseason preparations in mid-March.
While Coach Prime hasn’t responded publicly to the recent controversy, he has reportedly undergone training to better understand the University of Colorado’s policies and the requirements of the Establishment Clause.
For the most part, Deion Sanders’ presence at the university has been met mostly with positivity. A newfound excitement surrounds the program following a 1-11 campaign last season.
That’s resulted in increased ticket sales, as well as a boom in interest for the upcoming Spring Game.
His success on the recruiting trail has been evident, as he not only landed a commitment from the top defensive player in this year’s class, but also the top transfer in Travis Hunter.
Things appear to be on the upswing for the Buffaloes. It will be interesting to see how Sanders fares in his inaugural season.
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