Pro Football Hall of Famer and Jackson State head football coach Deion Sanders spoke out Friday about the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi.
Ahead of Jackson State's opening game of the 2022 season against Florida A&M on Sunday, Sanders said of the situation in Jackson: "We just hope we can afford to give the people an escape for the period of time ... so they can get their minds off the true issues at hand. It's a tremendous burden, but it's way bigger than football."
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Deion Sanders aka Coach Prime hopes to provide an escape to families in Jackson, Miss., dealing with the Jackson Water Crisis, during Sunday’s game between Jackson State and Florida A&M in the HBCU Orange Blossom Classic in Miami. <a href="https://twitter.com/DeionSanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeionSanders</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/jxnwatercrisis?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#jxnwatercrisis</a> <a href="https://t.co/uPxIjHig7D">pic.twitter.com/uPxIjHig7D</a>
Per CNN's Nouran Salahieh, Jason Hanna and Amir Vera, the acute water issue in Jackson began Monday when flooding caused a water treatment plan to fail, causing little or no water to come out of faucets in the city.
In some cases, the water coming out of faucets has been brown and undrinkable, forcing businesses and schools to be shut down in Jackson, with public schools and Jackson State classes held virtually.
CNN noted that even before the damaged water treatment plant went into failure, a boil-water notice had been in place for a month in Jackson. Because of crumbling infrastructure, this is just the latest in a series of water issues residents have faced.
In addition to expressing his hope that Jackson State football can bring some joy to the residents of Jackson, Sanders praised the work of Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba:
"Ain't nobody complaining. Ain't nobody trippin. They might be uneasy because they want information. The governor, our mayor are doing a phenomenal job—to me—in supporting that. But all [the people of Jackson] want is hope and desire.
"And guess what? The Jackson State University football team gave them that. And we plan on giving them that."
Sanders is widely regarded as one of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history after enjoying a 14-year career in the league with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens.
He recorded 53 interceptions during his career and was an eight-time Pro Bowler, six-time first-team All-Pro, two-time Super Bowl champion and one-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Sanders broke into coaching at the high school level in 2012 and became the head coach at Jackson State in 2020.
After leading Jackson State to a 4-3 record during the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, he helped the Tigers improve to 11-2 last season, including a 9-0 mark in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The Orange Blossom Classic will be played Sunday at 3 p.m. ET in Miami, and fans can watch Jackson State clash with Florida A&M on ESPN2.