As the head football coach at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, Deion Sanders wants to be referred to as "Coach" and nothing else.
During the 2021 SWAC Football Media Day in Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday, ESPN reports that the NFL Hall of Famer made it very clear to one reporter that he did not want to be called by his first name.
"You don't call [Alabama's] Nick Saban, 'Nick.' Don't call me Deion," Sanders told reporter Nick Suss from the Clarion Ledger, referencing the seven-time national champion head coach.
The reporter apparently referred to Sanders as "Deion" twice, to which the college coach noted that "if you call Nick [Saban], Nick, you'll get cussed out on the spot."
He added, "So don't do that to me. Treat me like Nick."
According to theClarion Ledger, Sanders, who led Jackson State to a 4-3 record last year, walked out of the press conference after he was called "Deion" for a second time by the reporter.
Suss told the Clarion Ledger that "when I interview people, I call them by their first name. Whether it's someone I've been working with for years or someone I'm talking to for the first time."
Sanders, who has gone by "Neon Deion" and "Prime Time" when he was playing football, now uses "Coach Prime" as his Twitter handle. The 53-year-old coach later posted a video of the moment with the reporter and further explained his stance on not being called by his first name.
"Respect is something that u must demand and stand for," he tweeted on Wednesday morning. "Give respect and honor those that should be respected and if u don't respect them don't allow your feelings to escalate the situation into something else unhealthy."
He continued, "Learn to walk away and see another day your way."
Jackson State's first game of the season is on Sept. 5 against Florida A&M.