There have been a lot of takes on Deion Sanders leaving Jackson State University (JSU) to become the head football coach at the University of Colorado. There have been takes that largely defend Sanders. There have been nuanced takes. There have been takes that are so harsh one can only wonder if Sanders ran over the author’s dog as he was pulling out of the JSU parking lot for the last time.
But if there is one take that is sure to be useless, at least socially, it’s that of Jason Whitlock.
Now, Whitlock is a sports journalist. That means he likely has reasonable expertise when it comes to sports. And if he had limited his take to that realm of expertise, I wouldn’t be writing this take on his take. But Whitlock, like most Black writers and commentators who have weighed in on the subject, decided to include commentary on Blackness and Deion’s responsibility to Black people. And on those subjects, Whitlock will always be the one with the hot take who really needs to take a seat.
During an episode of Fearless with Jason Whitlock, the gold medalist in sunken place tap-dancing said to correspondent Steve Kim, who is Korean, “Let’s play the clip of Deion talking about being Black, I know you’re an expert on that,” to which Kim responded with laughter. (I laughed too because it would have been the exact same joke if someone sarcastically said to Whitlock, “I know you’re an expert on being Black.”)
“The thing that alarms me the most is just because I’m leaving Jackson they think that I’m leaving African-Americans,” Sanders is heard saying in the clip. “I don’t know if you noticed or not but I’m Black. I can never leave who I am, or what I am, or how I go about being that. It is still my task to look in that locker room and see 65-70% of African-American men trying to help them get to the next level, as well as all the others. My calling is for young men, young women, and people of all walks of life, social climates, and all ethnicities. That’s my calling. My calling is not built on a location, it’s built on a destination. Now that was good! You’re supposed to clap for that! We just started and you’re already getting my good stuff!”
“That’s Deion Sanders. He tells people to clap, they clap, they follow every word that comes out of his mouth. ‘I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT I’M BLACK BUT I’M NOT LEAVING BLACK PEOPLE!’” Whitlock said in response to the clip. “Look man, Jackson State’s campus is like 98% Black. Colorado’s campus is about 2% Black. You DID leave Black people.”
Besides the facts that Whitlock doesn’t appear to understand that Black people exist outside of a single HBCU and that Sanders can still do things for Black people without being a JSU coach, one can only wonder where the guy who defends anti-Black racism for breakfast even gets off speaking on whether or not Prime Time abandoned African Americans.
Then again, maybe leaving Black people is Whitlock’s prime area of expertise.
I assume that at one point in Whitlock’s 55 years of life, he was of the Black community. I assume he was born into a Black family and attended your occasional cookout from time to time. Then he left to become a cheerleader for white nationalism who hates all things pro-Black and social justice-related—the type of guy who thinks Brittney Griner and Jan. 6 Capitol rioters represent comparable levels of criminality.
Then again, maybe the guy who considered Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to be “torture” due to its “racial idolatry” should sit out the HBCU vs. PWI (predominately white institution) debate, especially since he’s essentially a living, breathing PWI himself.
Whitlock went on to say that Sanders would “set Black coaches back quite a bit” because he doesn’t expect him to perform well at the University of Colorado, which reminds me of white people who hated Barack Obama and considered his presidency to be a disaster saying, “No Black person will ever be elected again after this.”
Like white presidents, white coaches can be bad at their jobs all they want and it wouldn’t be looked at as indicative of what white coaches do in general. Not that there’s reason to think either Obama or Sanders are/were bad at their jobs—unless you’re Whitlock or other conservative white people.
Nah, Whitlock been left us. He might want to do some self-reflecting before talking about anyone else.
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