“Neon” Deion Sanders, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer, has been in the spotlight more than necessary lately. This time, “Prime Time” is getting more media exposure because he just got fired from his post at Prime Prep Academy.
His job loss from the charter school that he co-founded to serve the Dallas-Fort Worth community, through access to challenging and innovative educational material, stems from employee Kevin Jefferson’s accusation that Sanders assaulted him.
The alleged attack took place during a confrontation in which Sanders addressed his concern about the student-athletes’ academic performance. Faculty member Jefferson claims that the verbal argument turned into a physical struggle when Sanders supposedly grabbed his throat and threw him to the ground.
Sanders tweeted this in his defense:
The Person claiming assault is a fake administrator whom does absolutely nothing to help the school,kids or teachers reach our goals. Truth
— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) October 10, 2013
As an educator myself, I could tell that Sanders is passionate about providing Prime Prep’s students with valuable education, so I applaud his advocacy. However, I do not commend or agree with this aggressive conduct. Unfortunately, this unreasonable reaction cost him his job.
We all know that Sanders has seen success as a professional athlete on the field, both in the NFL and the MLB. I, for one, have admired his skills both as a player and as an analyst, especially due to my own background in the media. Yet, I do believe that he compromised the foundation on which Prime Prep is based, one that furnishes a safe outlet for students to pursue academic and athletic opportunities.
As a leadership scholar who is writing my doctoral dissertation about coaches’ influence on their student-athletes’ performance and satisfaction, I have studied at great length about leaders serving as role models to their peers. Sanders set a poor example of handling a crisis situation. Instead of losing his temper, he could have helped in proposing solutions to the problem.
Perhaps Sanders could take some pointers from this sports industry webinar that I attended the other day: Peak Performance on the Field… And in the Office by Ed Tseng, who was recommended by Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team has won the NBA Finals these past two years. The bottom line from this session was that clear minds provide access to our peak performances. If Sanders could take these tips and put them into practice, then he could be cool, calm and collected when approaching future scenarios of conflict, whether in his career or his personal life.
At least Sanders may not be at too much of a loss financially, because the former OWN reality TV show Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love co-star is supposed to release Prime Time in 2014. The former chronicled Sanders and the most recent Mrs. Sanders, from whom Sanders divorced this past summer.