Former NFL star Deion Sanders is accusing a local television reporter of racial bias in covering his new charter school and is preparing to sue Dallas public schools that have sought to keep the school, Prime Prep Academy, from competing in varsity sports.
Sanders made the allegations during an interview aired Wednesday on radio station KRLD-FM (105.3 The Fan).
“We have a lawyer that’s getting ready to tear some butts up, because a lot of things that were done to our institution were done wrong because you dislike me,” Sanders said. “It’s going to be a lawsuit. If you’re dirty and you’re in DISD [Dallas Independent School District], you better clean up your drawers, because we’re going to find it and we’re going to expose you.”
Sanders’ most provocative comments were reportedly aimed at WFAA-TV reporter Brett Shipp, who has aired a series of reports about Prime Prep’s eligibility issues.
“This all started mainly by a Caucasian reporter from a news station, Channel 8,” said Sanders, who did not refer to Shipp by name. “It seems like he’s the African American killer. It’s always something against a brother, and that bothers me.”
Shipp is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been with the station since 1995, according to the WFAA-TV website.
“Deion is just passionately standing up for his kids. I’m just reporting what’s being done by the UIL, it’s all good,” Shipp said.
Sanders’ inaugural football team at Prime Prep was barred from district play this season after the school admitted most of the players were ineligible because of residency requirements.
More recently, four basketball players who transferred to Prime Prep from local powerhouse Arlington Grace Prep were declared ineligible. The players were judged to have transferred for athletic reasons after their coach, Ray Forsett, left Grace Prep to coach at Sanders’ school.
All of the players were declared ineligible by the District 11-3A executive committee, made up of coaches and administrators from schools in the same district as Prime Prep.
Sanders said he has no issue with the University Interscholastic League, which governs public school athletics in Texas, but rather with the local-level district executive committee.
Sanders repeatedly denied allegations that his school recruits athletes, which is against UIL rules. He said most of the students at Prime Prep don’t participate in athletics.
“We have 34 kids in the whole football program,” Sanders said. “Does that sound like recruiting?”
Sanders said he believes much of the negative attention focused on his school, a charter school which receives state funds and private donations, is because of his fame and unorthodox ways.
“I provoke change, I change things,” Sanders said. “I shed light on right. I shed light on positivity.”