Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders Blasts NFL For Overlooking HBCU Players In 2021 Draft: ‘Our Kids Are Being Neglected And Rejected’
The Jackson State University head football coach said the players are being "neglected & rejected."
May 04, 2021 at 7:10 pm
The multi-hyphenate sports figure said that “our kids are being neglected & rejected” after none of the 259 featured players selected into the NFL were from an HBCU.
“There were 259 picks in the 2021 #NFLDraft – not a single draft pick featured a player from an HBCU,” The Undefeated wrote on Twitter.
"We have the Audacity to Hate on one another while our kids are being NEGLECTED & REJECTED," Sanders wrote on his Instagram. "I witnessed a multitude of kids that we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted. My prayers are that This won’t EVER happen again. Get yo knife out my back and fight with me not against me!"
In April, more than 40 players from historically Black colleges attended the first NFL coordinated HBCU Combine at The University of Alabama-Birmingham, after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We should be right there," the Jackson State University coach said, USA Today reported. "We shouldn't have a separate combine. That doesn't make sense to have a separate combine. I was just trying to get us in, but now that I'm involved, and I'm in it, we don't want separate. We want together."
Sanders, who is an eight-time Pro Bowl player and former NFL cornerback was announced last year as the head football coach for Jackson State University, one of the largest HBCUs in the country, as Blavity previously reported.
"I am truly blessed to be the 21st Head football coach of Jackson State University," he said in a statement at the time of his appointment. "It's my desire to continue this storied tradition and history of JSU and prayerfully bring more national recognition to the athletes, the university, the Sonic Boom of the South, and HBCUs in general."
According to HBCU Gameday, only five out of the 460 NFL prospects for 2021 hailed from an HBCU. In 2020, Tennessee State University’s Lachavious Simmons was the only HBCU-based pick.
“It’s hard to believe that not one guy is worthy of being drafted,” Doug Williams, Washington Football Team senior adviser, said, according to The Washington Post. “That to me, that’s a travesty. Hopefully, we can fix it.”
In 2016, 32 players from HBCUs were chosen to be a part of the National Football League, and as of September 2020, there were a total of 29 active HBCU alumni players in the NFL, HBCU Gameday reported.
Despite being overlooked this year, the Black College Football Hall of Fame announced the introduction of the HBCU Legacy Bowl which will take place in 2022 following Super Bowl LV.
"The HBCU Legacy Bowl means opportunity and exposure for HBCU players and coaches," Williams, who is a co-founder and inductee, said, according to the NFL’s website. "We're excited to have this in New Orleans, especially during Black History Month."
The week-long event will highlight prominent, Black collegiate athletes, exposing the nearly 100 invitees to the NFL.