Team SFPL had a chance to get a first look at Deion Sanders aka Primetime‘s reality show, Deion’s Family Playbook, as it returns for it’s 2nd season. We also got to speak with Deion on a few topics like; family, coaching, pro and college football, African-American males on reality tv and more.
The transition from playing to coaching is dope because your love for the game is still there but what is the major difference for you?
Kids are different, their mentalities is different. Like when we were shorties, we were playing to get out. They’re playing for themselves. We were playing to rescue momma, that’s why momma is still with me. That’s why momma never worked another day in her life since ’89. That’s what the whole concept of “must be the money,” but everything has changed. It ain’t me, its y’all. That was the whole concept, but kids today they’re playing for them — so they’ll quit on you. When you have some turbulence or an obstacle that you’re facing, you will have that. So thats the whole difference, getting someone to see what you see…that’s hard. Thats why I could never coach pro or college, because I don’t have that kind of patience.I deal with younger kids because I have more tolerance. But at the older level, I am not going to give you a check or a scholarship, and you gon’ act like this. I have 50 kids on my high school football team, and I’ve met probably 10 dads. That explains why I wanna do that. We had the ‘Cosbys.’ we had ‘Sanford and Son,’ we had the ‘Jeffersons,’ we had even ‘Archie Bunker,’ he was cool. Even ‘What’s Happenin,’ But the shows that I named, their fathers were present. They were perfect. But what are we looking up to now?! I don’t see it.I don’t see any African American male on television (reality tv) that we can gravitate to. So that explains why I wanted to take part…I’m not perfect, but I’m present. I’m going be there. So that’s why I chose to do the show, not just to put myself on front street. But we got to give somebody some direction. I mean, that’s what I do with the High Schoolers. That’s why I love coaching. Plus I love those babies. They’re my life, I wouldn’t know what to do without them. They’re therapeutic for me like I am to them. We give and take from each other.
How have you been able to keep your children grounded through everything? As mentioned, they already been in the spotlight. You were already a professional athlete, which means, they’re already accustomed to a certain lifestyle. You spoke about being a good father. Is that one positive aspect that helps you?
Kids are led by example; not what they hear, but really what they see. So the way to keep them grounded is to show them a grounded father. But they could see me walk around school, when no one is looking and picking up trash, and doing the things that don’t get much fans — for it allows them to understand that this life is real, and that you have responsibilities. They stay grounded by the actions that I may display only, and the words that I speak to them. Kids are different these days, you got to show them — you can’t tell them anything. You got to really show them what time it is these days.Like I said, I’m not perfect but I am present. I do all their shopping, I know all their sizes, I know all their teachers, I’m there. This ain’t no game to me. This is real. A teacher should not have to tell me something about my baby, that I don’t know. And that’s one of the things I articulate to the parents, as well when they come and tell me “well my kid did this.” I say, well “let me tell you about your baby,” you wake up in the morning, you go to work because you got to, and I understand that because I have to as well. Now your baby come to us at school probably 8:30, 9 o’clock. We keep your baby til 4 o’clock. Your baby may have after school even lay around til 5:30. By the time you get home around 6/6:30 you tired, you really don’t feel like cooking but you make something for your baby. Alright after you make food for your baby, you say how was school today? They say…”cool”; you say what you do, they say…”nothing”; you say…”you okay?” They say…”yeah.”They grab their plate, go to their room and get back on one of their screens, which is a laptop or a phone and they do their thing. So you pretty much had 3/4 minutes of communication with your child. Now you try to tell me, you know your child better than I know them, and I have them for 8 hours. That’s really how life is, that’s really how life goes. But in that time, we try — still try, to facilitate those ques and instill everything inside of them. And that’s the challenge, and that’s the calling that we have. Thats the calling that I have on my life. To help these kids get to and from college, and to instill values in them so they won’t be corrupt when they get there.
So with 10 kids is there anything they have taught you, like “life lessons” wise?
Patience. You know what my babies teach me, this is profound better write this down…They teach me how we treat God. They teach me how we treat God, ’cause then when i’m like “lord help me with this kid. Help me understand this kid. Because i’m doing this for him and he still acting up. But God comes and repeats the same exact thing to you. God says; i’m doing this, that and the third, but you still carry on. So, that’s real, they teach me patience and understanding, and they make me think outside of the line. For a long time, i’ve always been inside the line, a straight forward guy, contrary to my public persona; which is just a persona. I like everything the same way, I do stuff according to structure, and I’m really a good person, that you will get to know outward and inward.With that many kids in the house they all have different personalities. I could close my eyes, and you tell me what happened, and I can tell you which kid. Because I know them like that and that’s how god knows us. But you got to love them through it all. You got to have that even through love. I’m still going to love you, but I got to discipline you. Discipline now-a-days isn’t really whopping them — discipline now-a-days means to take their electronics. They will go crazy, it’s like kryptonite. You take a phone, a computer, it is over for a child. It’s a wrap. You got to take stuff that they really care about, and they don’t care about a lot, but communication. That’s what they care about tremendously. Just like us, you take our phone we gon’ lose our mind.
It was truly a pleasure speaking with Deion Sanders. Deion is definitely a legend in our eyes with such extensive knowledge, and advice.
Be sure to tune-in to ‘Deion‘s Family Playbook’ with all-new episodes on tomorrow, Saturday, November 1st @ 9 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
[Photos by Bernard “Beanz” Smalls]
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