On Deion Sanders and the HBCU, PWI and African American Community

I have read many commentaries on Deion’s decision to go to Colorado. The most convincing assessment speaks to what was told to an already proud HBCU community (though not resourced heavily but understood in light of historical discriminations and a very proud HBCU educational, academic and intellectual tradition versus mere athletics and the decision he made two years later.)

The Deion situation is profoundly impactful for me personally and professionally. There is a delicate negotiation of personal and professional considerations that most persons who are not similarly situated in their professions simply have no idea about.

Albeit-my situations have not arisen to the prominence of Deion Sanders considering his wealth, fame, etc as a Professional athlete-what I will offer is that if you think the prestige of an institution-HBCU, PWI or otherwise- should take the place of your own Peace and Purpose, you would be greatly mistaken. (Many of you simply have no idea what a man in his position has to deal with.)

However, “integrity” is the greatest 9-letter word in my opinion and this is what is at issue. Unlike many HBCU presidents, he had the board’s backing without becoming a sycophant and the community’s backing (he never lived under the threat from board, Alumni or social media attaches that could lead to a firing or a “non renewal” of a contract.) He alone had the opportunity to do what many HBCU leaders dreamed
To do and he decided to do otherwise which is entirely his choice.

All the same, the lesson for those of us who are fortunate to have similar opportunities: let’s be mindful of the hopes in our word given to a community historically bereft of such hopes. Calling is not some mere capitalistic endeavor as many have now reduced it to. Calling comes from God and while it is not limited nor bound to location, it will be found in one’s words and works. (The root word of integrity is integer: Wholeness.) It is difficult to reconcile words to community members in the era of social media when your works
undermind these very words.

Deion is my brother but I think this moment is a watershed moment for our community to reconcile and come
To terms with what we view as success. 👏🏾🙌🏾👑

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