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After teams face off on the field, it is customary for the head coaches of both teams to shake hands out of respect. Bro-hugs? Not so much. That was the case when Alabama State University Hornets head coach Eddie Robinson, Jr. and Jackson State University Tigers head coach Deion Sanders met in the middle of The ASU Stadium after JSU’s 26-12 victory over the Hornets this past Saturday. Robinson Jr, who is not related to Grambling coach and Hall of Famer Eddie Robinson, blocked Sanders when he went in for the handshake turned bro-hug, which left Coach Prime speechless.
At the press conference after the game Coach Robinson, Jr explained his frustration with the Pro Football Hall of Famer, saying Sanders had made disrespectful comments in the week leading up to the game. He also stated that Sanders walked through Alabama State’s offensive warm-ups, and the team should have taken a knee to end the game when it was out of reach. But it was his comments about representing the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), home to ASU and JSU that caught the eye of many.
“He ain’t SWAC. I’m SWAC, he ain’t 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, I love Shedeur (Sanders. JSU Quarterback and Deion’s son), great player, I love what he’s doing for the conference. … But you’re not going to come here and disrespect me and my team and my school and then want a bro hug. Shake my hand and get the hell off.”
Coach Robinson, Jr called into The Morning Hustle to explain why he chose not to go further than a handshake with Sanders. He also explains why in his opinion, Sanders is indeed “Not SWAC.”
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW BELOW
Key Takeaways From The Interview
Headkrack: Is Alabama State vs. Jackson State the top rivalry in the SWAC following last Saturday’s game?
Coach Robinson, Jr: I think to me, you know, Jackson State has always been Jackson State, I played in the conference and played against them. And they’ve always had great teams and a number of guys that are in the NFL Hall of Fame. And so it’s a game that you get up for it, but it was our homecoming. And I think it kind of started with, you know, with Deion, Coach Sanders, Prime, he was making a big deal about us inviting them for homecoming, like we were treating them like a homecoming team, which was just a matter of it was where the space fell on the calendar. It was the first week of October and so we happen to play Jackson State. So I think, you know, that was one of those things that kind of kind of built up throughout the whole week.
Lore’l: Your frustration after the game. Was it because you lost the whole cover game? Was it because Jackson State was trying to run up the score? What was the real issue?
Coach Robinson, Jr: You know, losing is a part of sports as a part of football, it’s part of life, sometimes you’re gonna lose. So I think it was so much about being upset that we lost. You learn how to deal with losing. I’ve lost way too many games probably lost just as many as I won if I added them up. But I think that’s where it kind of started and it just kind of went from there. But I don’t know, it seems like one of those things that, you know, in social media, it’s like a very big deal. But I think from the standpoint of him and I, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be a distraction. And right now we’re focusing on beating the next opponent, which is Mississippi Valley.
Headkrack: During the postgame press conference, you said “Coach Prime ain’t SWAC.” Now for those who don’t understand what that is? What did you mean?
Coach Robinson, Jr: Well, I think for me, I kind of focus more on you know, what the SWAC means to me. So, you know, having played in the conference and walking on here at Alabama State, to me is just one of those things that, you know, to play in the SWAC is a privilege. You know, it’s something, and even when I played in the NFL, you know, playing with Steve McNair, you know, we would, “Aye What’s Up SWAC.” “Hey, how’s it going SWAC.” It was something that we would call each other kind of like a nickname because of the pride that we had of playing in the conference. And so we had other guys in the NFL that was on teams with us and they would “aye man whats up,” “you know nah, you not SWAC you know?” Just kind of one of the things you would say is that if you didn’t play in the SWAC you wasn’t bred on HBCU football then you’re not SWAC so that type of things. I played against guys like Michael Strahan, guys like an Aeneas Williams and those guys were not just you know, all conference all SWAC, but they were also NFL Hall of Famers. So I think it’s just the history of the conference that I have a lot of pride in. I think a lot of us do also.
RELATED: How Eddie Robinson Jr.’s Beef With Deion Sanders Could Actually Help The SWAC—And HBCU Football
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