Why Deion Sanders' son Shilo filed for bankruptcy, what's next in Colorado's legal saga?

Safe start in Colorado Shilo Sanders' legal troubles are under scrutiny as a nearly decade-long saga continues to unfold. Sanders, the 24-year-old son of Buffaloes head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last October following a Texas court judgment against him for nearly $12 million in damages owed to a former deposit. security guard at his high school in Dallas after an alleged assault.

According to court documents in Texas and Colorado, obtained this week and reviewed by The AthleticsJohn Darjean alleged that Sanders, then 15, attacked Darjean during an altercation Triple A Academy in 2015, leaving Darjean with damage to his cervical spine and permanent neurological problems. Sanders has claimed in lawsuits that it was Darjean who was the aggressor.

Sanders' bankruptcy declaration has called his personal fortune into question in an era in college sports when athletes can benefit from name, image and likeness rights.

Darjean and his lawyers allege in court documents that Sanders failed to properly disclose his assets when he filed for bankruptcy. They are still trying to collect the $11.89 million judgment he was ordered to pay after a civil lawsuit was ruled in Darjean's favor in a Texas district court in March 2022. Sanders did not appear at the trial and claims in court documents that he could not afford legal representation at the time, that he was never notified of new trial dates and that he did not learn of the default judgment until 2023.

According to court documents from April 2020, his former attorneys collectively withdrew from the case because they were informed by Sanders “that he does not want or cannot continue to fund the defense of this case.” Sanders' bankruptcy filings in Colorado show he is a graduate student looking for a “fresh start in life.”


Shilo Sanders appeared in the Louis Vuitton Menswear Ready-to-wear Fall-Winter 2024/2025 Collection as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 16, 2024. (Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images)

This week, Sanders and his lawyers filed a motion in a Dallas court to seal 21 court documents from August 2017 that they say contain “sensitive and confidential information” related to Sanders. The motion alleged that Darjean has violated the initial protective order put in place in 2018 on several social media platforms in recent years, part of an ongoing dispute over what information should be kept secret since Sanders was a minor at the time of the incident.

In April, Darjean appeared for a stint on 'Fearless with Jason Whitlock' 90 minutes sit-down interview describing his side of the story and featuring video testimony from Deion Sanders. Darjean claimed that a former school administrator “stole” surveillance footage of the altercation and gave it to Deion Sanders. The former Cowboys star cornerback told TMZ in 2016 that Darjean was 'a real fraudster'.

A spokesperson for the University of Colorado said Wednesday that the university, as well as Deion and Shilo Sanders, “will withhold comment as the litigation is ongoing.” Attorneys for Sanders and Darjean did not respond to requests for comment.

The alleged attack

Video obtained by TMZ in 2016 shows the early stages of the altercation and alleged assault on September 17, 2015. Darjean approaches Sanders on the school basketball court and grabs Sanders' right arm. Sanders shakes off the attempt before the video cuts to a scuffle taking place in the distance and spilling into the school's foyer.

Both sides claim the dispute had to do with Sanders speaking to his mother, Pilar, on his phone, which violated school policy. Darjean's lawsuit stated that Sanders attacked him by elbowing him in the neck and chest before punching Darjean several more times in the same area. He called the attack “sudden, unexpected, unprovoked.”

According to documents filed in bankruptcy court in February, Sanders' version of the story is markedly different. It says Darjean became overly physical with the teen. Sanders said he was pressed against a wall by Darjean for more than a minute and could not move. The school's principal, Ruda Nash, witnessed the ordeal and, according to Sanders, was one of several staff members who attempted to remove Darjean from Sanders. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received a written statement from Nash, which said Darjean held Sanders by the neck before throwing him to the ground. After they were finally separated, Sanders called 911, according to Nash.

Aside from the differing claims about what happened, Deion Sanders and Darjean knew each other before the incident. Darjean, a former pitcher with the New York Yankees organization, coached youth baseball in the community. Deion Sanders also served as head football coach at Triple A Academy for two seasons in 2015 and 2016. In his interview on Whitlock's show in April, Darjean claims that Deion Sanders personally called him to take Shilo's phone away because of his disdain for Pilar, his ex-wife. They divorced in 2013.

In June 2016, Darjean first filed the lawsuit against Deion, Pilar and Shilo in Dallas District Court, alleging his “severe and permanent injuries.” Deion Sanders was ultimately removed from the lawsuit in January 2019.

“I tried to contact him, he didn't come visit me in the hospital, he didn't say, 'Hey man, I know my son did you wrong,'” Darjean said on Whitlock's show. “He flipped the script and sent a video to TMZ saying I was the aggressor and saying I attacked his son.”

A year later, in June 2017, Darjean filed a defamation lawsuit against Deion Sanders over Sanders' comments to TMZ. The case would ultimately be dismissed in February 2019 due to lack of prosecution.

a Youtube Channel titled “Prime Time for The Truth” was made in November 2021. A statement video from Deion Sanders was previously present, but has since been removed. a separate YouTube video was made a month ago asking for donations to a GoFundMe account that says Darjean's medical bills have exceeded $900,000 and Sanders has yet to complete his payments. It has received $150 of its $800,000 goal.

Collect on the judgment and NIL

Darjean and his lawyers argue in bankruptcy court that Sanders has not been transparent about all of his assets resulting from demand in the NIL landscape.

Sanders, who started his collegiate career at South Carolina before transferring to join his father at Jackson State and eventually Colorado, was part of high-profile NIL deals as the Buffs became one of the biggest stories in sports under Deion Sanders.

Shilo recently appeared in a cameo on Starz's hit show “BMF” – playing his father. In January, Shilo and his brother Shedeur, Colorado's starting quarterback, walked the runway in Paris for the fall-winter show for Louis Vuitton. He has starred alongside Shedeur in commercials for Google and co-starred with his father and siblings in marketing campaigns for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Oikos yogurt.

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In his bankruptcy filing in Colorado court last year, Sanders revealed that he had a gross income of $193,713 in 2023, while the year before he earned $216,950 in his final season at Jackson State. It also showed its liabilities – mainly the 2022 court judgment – ​​estimated at $11.3 million. Among his claimed assets is a 2023 Mercedes GLE, valued at $75,900. Necklaces worth $75,000 were later removed as assets.

Court records show that Darjean has claimed Sanders is worth more than the reported $320,000 in his bankruptcy filing — he believes Sanders transferred money to one of his two LLCs, Big 21 and SS21.

“It is precisely Shilo's NIL value and/or public value that is the source of the non-stop paid engagements and appearances on social media,” Darjean's complaint reads, according to Westword, an independent publication based in Denver. first reported on Sanders' bankruptcy case on May 24 and downloaded the application before it was sealed this month. “The entire basis of the NIL concept is the value of the individual athlete, but not only did Shilo choose to hide the value of the entire NIL project with the 'unknown' lists for the two entities that were made public ( Big 21 LLC and/or SS21 LLC), but also Shilo has deliberately failed to identify and disclose its individual NIL ownership interest anywhere in the schemes.”

Sanders' attorneys disputed the claim by noting that the transcript of Sanders' meeting with creditors makes clear that his NIL agreements were always with Big 21, LLC and therefore were part of the assets of Sanders' claimed estate assessment.

“This accusation is based on pure conjecture and media 'hype', without any basis in fact or reality,” Sanders' lawyers wrote.

Sanders filed a motion for summary judgment, which was also confirmed by the judge. If it is granted, Darjean would not be able to collect the judgment in Texas. Darjean's lawyer filed a request last week to extend the deadline for a response until June 24.

(Top photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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