Prime time beef: Deion Sanders, Eddie Robinson Jr. have brief dispute after game

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A midfield handshake at the end of Saturday’s college football game between Jackson State and Alabama State turned contentious between coaches Deion Sanders and Eddie Robinson Jr.

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After Sanders’ Jackson State squad won 26-12 in Alabama State’s homecoming game, the former college and Pro Football Hall of Famer known as “Prime Time” walked to midfield to shake Robinson’s hand. After the handshake, Sanders tried to pull Robinson in for a hug, but the Alabama State coach placed his hand on Sanders’ chest, pushed him and walked away, CBS Sports reported.

Sanders raised his hands in disbelief before walking away, ESPN reported.

Robinson told reporters after the game he was miffed by Sanders, whom he said “disrespected” him during the week leading up to the Southwestern Athletic Conference game, according to SBNation.

“Well, to be upfront, I thought it was a lot of disrespect the whole week,” Robinson told reporters. “So, you’re not gonna be disrespectful the whole week in the media. We didn’t talk in the pregame. I was out there the whole time at the 50-yard line. He walked through our whole huddle in our end zone. Came the long way around to get to his side of the field in the pregame. Thought that wasn’t classy at all.

“In the postgame, I’m not about to give you the Obama bro hug. I’m gonna shake your hand and go on. I’m always gonna be respectful and respect the game.”

Robinson, who is not related to college football Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling, said he would always shake an opposing coach’s hand, but saw “no need for an embrace” with Sanders, ESPN reported.

“I’m going to always be respectful and respect the game,” Robinson said. “You’ve got the great (coaches), W.C. Gorden, Eddie Robinson, those guys, Marino Casem, I’m living on the shoulders of the SWAC.

“He ain’t SWAC. I’m SWAC. He’s in the conference, doing a great job, can’t knock that, got a great team, his son should be up for the Heisman Trophy.”

Sanders, who has led Jackson State to 12 straight conference wins and won the SWAC title in 2021, said he always ran around the field before NFL games and arrived too late to greet Robinson before kickoff, ESPN reported.

“I heard him also spew out comments about what did I say leading up to the week,” Sanders said. “I was a darn good salesman leading up to the week. Did we sell the game out? Did we sell the game out, yes or no? Had they ever been sold out here? So I thought I did my job. I thought I should be applauded, really.

“I’m not one to come back the next day and you going to pick up the phone and you going to apologize and we straight,” Sanders said. “No, not whatsoever. You meant that mess. And one of the comments that kind of disturbed me out of all the comments, that I’m not SWAC. Who is? I got time today. Who is SWAC if I ain’t SWAC? Who is SWAC if I ain’t SWAC?”

Robinson said he respected Sanders and hoped that he would remain in the conference and not opt for a Power 5 conference job.

“Everybody wanted to be ‘Prime Time’ when they were a little kid,” Robinson told reporters. “I hope he comes back next year, I pray he don’t get a Power 5 job, so we can play them next year in Jackson.

“And I pray they put us for their damn homecoming.”