The 2021 NFL draft took place on Thursday, April 29. It ended Saturday, May 1, without a single athlete from a Historically Black College and University being chosen, and former NFL star Deion Sanders is not happy about it.
HBCU Game Day reported that this marked the ninth time since 2000 that no players from a Black institution ended up drafted. Some recent drafts include: In the 2020 NFL Draft, LaChavious Simmons of Tennessee State University reportedly was the only HBCU player drafted that year. In 2019, Tytus Howard became the first Alabama State University player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Sanders, the head football coach at HBCU Jackson State University in Mississippi, took to his Instagram page where he aired out his grievances.
The Hall of Famer shared an image of himself in his coach gear, along with a tweet from The Undefeated that reads, “There were 259 picks in the 2021 #NFLDraft – not a single draft pick featured a player from an HBCU.” In the caption, he wrote, “And we have the Audacity to Hate on one another while our kids are being NEGLECTED & REJECTED. I witnessed a multitude of kids that we played against that were more than qualified to be drafted.” He added, “My prayers are that This won’t EVER happen again. Get yo knife out my back and fight with me not against me!”
Shortly afterward, on Monday, May 3, Sanders announced that he would be hosting a one-day satellite camp on June 19, also known as Juneteenth. These events have been around a while, allowing coaches to travel and work as guest coaches at camps hosted by other institutions and enable them to see emerging young talent.
The head coach is inviting all HBCU coaches to be involved and extended the offer to the Southeastern Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference. The camp is open to all ninth through 12th graders.
Sanders released a lengthy statement on Instagram regarding the camp, writing, “Calling All Dogs we want to see you Live baby! This is my 1st college camp with @gojsutigersf band i expect the best talent from ALL OVER!”
He continued, “This is a satellite camp and their will be many schools on hand that could offer u a scholarship on the spot, I know I am if u got it.” The coach revealed more details were set to come and warned parents “not [to] procrastinate.”
USA Today reported that an HBCU combine was held in early April with the NFL, CFL and XFL scouts in attendance. However, Sanders told the outlet that he wanted to see HBCU players competing alongside those from other schools, saying, “We should be right there.” He added, “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.”