State regulators have revoked the charter of Prime Prep Academy, Deion Sanders' troubled DFW charter school, over problems with its school-lunch program. Barring a successful hail mary from the school, Sanders' days as a wannabe public educator are over, and it was byzantine federal grant rules that did him in.
But over the two years that Prime Prep Academy has existed, it's Sanders' temper and penchant for throat-grabbing that have given the school perhaps its blackest eyes: Three different school officials, including Sanders' co-founder, have accused the NFL great of choking them.
Sanders has denied choking one of them, CFO Kevin Jefferson, and ignored the other allegations. When I confronted him about them at a school meeting last year, he said only "God bless you." But in an audio recording obtained by the Observer (and embedded below), Sanders can be heard admitting that he choked one of the other men who has accused Sanders of assault.
The incident in question first came to light at a December board meeting, where the school's then-chief operating officer, Sean Allen, told a small group of parents and reporters that Sanders had called him "the N-word" and choked him before graduation that year, after Allen had asked Sanders to get some NFL players out of the campus field house so the students could use it.
Allen didn't report the assault and Sanders never addressed it. But in a later conversation with co-founder D.L. Wallace, Sanders recounted a fight with the school's COO and admitted to putting his hands on the employee's throat.
Your right hand man, your COO, gonna get out of pocket with me. You're going to stand there, and I politely asked you, you ain't gonna check this nigga? And that's how we went at it. Before I know it, my hands were around that nigga's throat.
I don't even get down like that DL, but when I'm pushed ... you're gonna see the nigga that was on the field, and you got a chance to meet that nigga that was on the field, that's who he is right there, that's what made me who I am, this nigga, right now that I can click on.
Here's the audio:
The source who provided the recording said the time and date of the meeting were unknown. But Sanders' description of the fight matches the story that Allen, the former COO, recounted of his confrontation with Sanders.
The conversation begins with Sanders sounding deferential to Wallace, explaining that he would never fight him because "you're too professional, we don't do that with you." But their relationship has since cratered, with Sanders blaming his former business partner for the school's woes. Wallace resigned last year, and he too eventually joined the chorus of school employees accusing Sanders of assault, writing a letter to parents alleging that he had also been choked by Sanders.
Wallace never went to police, and Sanders never addressed the accusation publicly. But Sanders' aggression toward Wallace could be heard in an audio recording we obtained earlier this year in which Sanders tells Wallace: "I feel like throwing this chair at you and breaking your damn neck right now, and I don't even use profanity, but I'm going to let it ride, because I'm pissed off because I love kids."
With Texas Education Agency now working to shut down Prime Prep, Sanders is once again insisting that all the turmoil on campus is Wallace's fault, accusing him of being a crook and a con artist:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
My former Co-Founder DL Wallace was a Crook and Heartless and we are still suffering from his Devilish ways. TEA informed PrimePrep.
— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) July 15, 2014
An email to Sanders' camp was not returned.
See also: - Deion Sanders Demanded a Raise, Threatened to Break Prime Prep CEO's Neck (Audio NSFW) - Deion Sanders' Bitter and Violent Quest to Retake Control of His Crumbling Charter School - Deion Sanders' Charter School and the Making of a Prime Time Scam