When NFL legend Deion Sanders made headlines last month it was not for setting any type of football record, but for the way he put his children in the center of a domestic dispute between him and their mother, his estranged wife, Pilar.
Now the former Dallas Cowboys star says he did what he had to do – including tweeting pictures of him and his sons filing out police reports – in order to protect his very public, all-star image.
“I can’t be alleged the guy that’s lost his mind,” Sanders said today on “Good Morning America.” “That’s not who I am or what I am. I’m opening up schools. I’m doing many things for the community. I have endorsements.”
Sanders, who was referring to his charity work as co-founder of the charter school Prime Prep Academy, was cited late last month by police in the couple’s hometown of Prosper, Texas, for misdemeanor simple assault one day after an alleged altercation with Pilar. As a result, his wife was arrested and held overnight in jail for misdemeanor family violence. The altercation occurred in the mansion where the couple still live together with their children, despite their increasingly messy divorce.
Sander immediately took to Twitter as his wife was arrested at their home, tweeting: “Pray for me and my kids now! They just witnessed their mother and a friend jump me in my room. She’s going to jail n I’m pressing charges!”
He also posted a photo of himself with two the couple’s two sons, ages 10 and 12, filling out police reports. He later removed the photos from the site.
“My son came and said, ‘Daddy, mommy’s called the ambulance, she’s getting to the ambulance, nothing is wrong with her.’ I said, ‘Oh my god, that’s the last thing that I want to see is the first thing the public hear is that I’ve abused my wife,’” Sanders said.
“So sporadically, and quickly, we said, you know, we got to really tell our side of the story first and get it out there and that’s where it came from,” he said of his tweets.
“I’m not happy, I’m not going to say I’m proud, but that’s the truth,” Sanders said. “When you have an allegation that I’ve hit you, that I’ve touched you, that I’ve assaulted you? That’s straight-up ignorant.”
Pilar Sanders was charged with misdemeanor assault and held overnight in the Collin County Jail with bond set at $264. She was released the next day and ordered to stay away from their home for 60 days. The judge also barred her from threatening or harassing her husband, according to the Associated Press.
“I pray to God that they don’t allow her back in the home because it’s not a safe environment for me or as well as the kids,” Sanders said. “But I can assure you one thing, she was never touched and thank God I have two witnesses that happen to be my children that saw the whole incident.”
The couple have been embroiled a “War of Roses” divorce drama since Deion filed for divorce against Pilar last year after 13 years of marriage. Both partners have chosen to continue living together in the couple’s lavish Texas mansion on the outskirts of Dallas where Sanders, nicknamed “Primetime,” became an icon during his five seasons as a cornerback with the Cowboys.
“The home is in my name and my name only,” he said. “It’s a wonderful haven for the kids. They’ve been raised here. That’s why I choose to stay in the home.”
Sanders now works as an analyst for the NFL Network. The couple starred in a 2008 reality show, “Deion & Pilar Prime Time Love,” that aired on the Oxygen network.
While Sanders strongly denies any allegations of abuse, a piano teacher to one of the Sanders’ sons who says she was in the house at the time of the altercation says the football star was the aggressor.
“I heard glass breaking and Deion was shouting at the top of his lungs, ‘Get out of my house. Get out of my house,!’” the teacher, Lisa Thomas, told ABC News.
“That’s really funny seeing that you never entered the home and you never saw me,” Sanders said in response to Thomas, whom Sanders claims was not even in his home that night. “I don’t understand what drives some people but, thank God, fortunately, that both of my sons witnessed the whole thing, unfortunately that they did, but, fortunately, that I have witnesses.”
“They testified,” he said of his sons. “They wrote statements to the police and I can’t wait until those statements come out so that everyone can see the truth.”
Before the gag order was issued in the case, Pilar spoke out to reporters as she was released from jail.
“I understand that I have very little chance at beating a Hall of Fame, two-sport man that everyone seems to love and adore,” she said. “I’m a full-time mom, 100 percent for my children. And I just haven’t been given a fair shake.”
In February, Pilar, who has accused Sanders of infidelity, filed a suit against her husband and his aunt, Laura Jones, in which she claimed the aunt attacked her in their home while Sanders watched.
She has also filed a $200 million defamation lawsuit against her husband and his daughter, Deiondra, for calling her a “gold diggin’ h*e” on Twitter. Sanders defends himself against those allegations by insisting that he wasn’t lying and that his statement shouldn’t be considered libel if there was any truth to his words.
“You’re just hearing about one incident. There have been several incidents,” Sanders said on “GMA.” “When these police reports come out you’re really going to see a pattern, a pattern of the ignorance and it’s crazy.”
In the meantime, the former football star says the couple’s living arrangements will have to change.
“No. We can’t. That can’t happen. It’s already volatile,” Sanders said of Pilar moving back into the family’s home after her 60-day probation period ends. “She owns a home five minutes from here which we purchased for her mother. I stay in the house because I provide, I take care of the home.”
ABC News’ Michael Ono and the Associated Press contributed to this report.