Neon Deion Sanders, Koch brothers, Snoop Dogg – odd bedfellows, indeed

By David Pendered

Deion Sanders, a star of both the Atlanta Braves and Falcons in the early 1990s, has partnered with the politically conservative Koch brothers to fight poverty in Dallas. An “unlikely partnership” is how a reporter with the Associated Press characterized the relation.

deion sanders, combined

Former Atlanta pro athlete Deion Sanders was widely viewed as one of the more versatile ballplayers in the history of modern sports. Credit: pinterest.com

AP’s characterization aside, not that many partnerships raises eyebrows in the current political climate. Then again, Sanders’ webpage has links to several videos with Snoop Dogg, a leading gansta rapper of the 1990s who launched his own brand of marijuana in 2015, and none to videos with conservatives.

Then again, Sanders may become a bridge between Snoop Dogg and the Koch brothers. The rapper and the brothers have been the target of Trump’s famous tweets.

Of Snoop Dogg, after he appeared in a video pointing a fake gun at a clown dressed like the president:

  • “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time! 4:02 AM – 15 Mar 2017”

Of the Koch brothers, after they shunned his White House bid in 2016:

  • “I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch. Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better! 1:01 PM – 30 Jul 2016”
deion sanders, baseball

The Atlanta Braves’ website says their former star is the only ballplayer to play in both a World Series and Superbowl. Credit: pinterest.com

Nor has Sanders lost his razzle dazzle. After reporters questioned his decision to partner with two of the nation’s leading financial backers of Republican and libertarian candidates, Sanders was quoted in a story by usatoday.com:

  • “I’ve been criticized since I was 16 years old. I’ve been booed by 90,000 that sung my name like a quartet.”

This isn’t Sanders first foray into politics or philanthropy.

Sanders endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2015, when Ryan was a House member representing a district in Wisconsin. At the time, Ryan was pushing anti-poverty legislation that fit Sanders’ notion of reducing the role of the federal government in fighting poverty at the local level.

In a story posted in 2015 on dailycaller.com, Sanders was quoted:

  • “Often times the people who are making these crazy decisions have never set foot in the inner city unless it’s a photo opp, and that’s where I have a problem. What about the people that are really doing it, and pushing the envelope?”
  • “It’s people like [Ryan], who take the initiative – it was so powerful when I looked in your eyes in your office. I said, ‘Why do you do this?’”
  • “You said, eloquently, ‘Because I want to provoke change.’”
snoop dogg

Deion Sanders promotes videos of Snoop Dogg on Sanders’ website and none of conservative leaders, such as the Koch brothers. Credit: southpawer.com

Sanders’ philanthropic work includes the founding of an organization to help inner city youths and a prep school. Both appear to have fizzled out over time.

The Braves cites Sanders’ effort in 2005 to raise money from professional athletes to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

For a walk down memory lane, here are Sanders’ feats, verbatim, as summed up by the Braves and Falcons.

Braves:

1989: Sanders hit a home run and scored a touchdown in the NFL in the same week, the first player to do so.
1991: Neon Deion hits .304 in 97 games with the Braves, and his 14 triples will lead the Majors. Sanders rejoins the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 25 for the remainder of the season to help the Braves’ pennant drive.
1992: Thought of as Sanders’ most productive year, he hit .304 for the Braves, and stole 26 bases in 97 games. In four games of the 1992 World Series, Sanders batted .533 with four runs, eight hits, two doubles, and one RBI.
1993: A first inning double by Deion Sanders is Atlanta’s only hit on May 26, as Cincinnati’s Tim Belcher hurls a one-hit, 4-0 shutout over the Braves.
1994: On May 29 the Braves trade Deion Sanders to the Reds in exchange for outfielder Roberto Kelly and Minor League pitcher Roger Etheridge.

Falcons

deion sanders, autographed pix

The Falcons characterize former standout Deion Sanders as, ‘one of the best pure cornerbacks ever to lace up a pair of cleats….’ Credit: autographedsportsbuy.com

Three-time Pro Bowl starter (1991-93).

First-team All-Pro (Associated Press, 1992).

Scored 10 touchdowns in Falcons uniform (via 3 interceptions, 5 returns, 2 receptions).

During his Falcons career established 12 club records: longest punt return (79t yards), most punt return TDs (2), most KORs (133), most KOR yards (3,063), most KOR yards in game (190), most KOR TDs (3), longest kickoff return (100t), most interceptions for TDs (2), most combined return TDs (8), most combined return yards (3,967), most combined return yards in game (245), and most combined returns (228).

First player since Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell (1958-61) to return a punt or a kickoff for a touchdown four consecutive seasons.

Only pro athlete to play two sports (football & baseball) in same city since 1960-61.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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