Deion Sanders asks for grace for suspects in Rose Bowl theft: 'Let's not crucify'
Deion Sanders said Tuesday he’s not yet sure if all of the belongings that were stolen from Colorado’s locker room during its recent trip to the Rose Bowl have been accounted for, but he did take time to say he’s praying for the suspects identified in the incident.
Four prospective UCLA football recruits from a high school in Riverside County, California, were identified as suspects in the case by police in Pasadena on Monday, according to The L.A. Times. The report stated that at least three Colorado players had jewelry stolen while others claimed headphones and cash had been taken from their lockers.
A spokesperson for the Pasadena police said some of the missing items had already been returned by mail to Colorado while others were seized during a search at Beaumont High. UCLA said in a statement to The Times that none of the four high school students were on an official visit to UCLA.
The suspects have not been named and no arrests have been made as of publication. At his news conference on Tuesday, Sanders asked for grace to be shown to the high schoolers in the event their identities became public.
“Let’s not crucify and punish these high school kids. Whatever the punishment that comes along with it, alright, let that be that. Community service or whatever it is. But let’s not abort the rest of their opportunities and lives because of a mistake,” Sanders said.
“They’re kids. They made a stupid, dumb, idiotic mistake. Guess what. When I was 17 and 18, so did I. So did you. Praying for those kids. It was very unfortunate we were on the other end of that.”
Sanders initially called on the NCAA or the Rose Bowl to reimburse his players for their stolen belongings. The incident took place during Colorado’s 28-16 loss to UCLA on Oct. 28.
Sanders also called out the initial reaction from some who blamed Colorado players for having jewelry with them in the first place.
“OK, well you shouldn’t drive your car to work then,” he said. “Somebody might steal that. That’s how stupid that statement was.”
But he ended his remarks on the matter by trying to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
“Let’s pray for those kids, man, and lift them up,” Sanders said. “Hopefully, they get another opportunity. What’s probably gonna happen is they’re probably gonna name them and expose who they are and then all hell breaks loose because we’re a society that likes to make a mockery of people that made mistakes in life when all of us have.”