Deion Sanders Jr. is just a freshman at Southern Methodist University but he’s already living large by sleeping on gold satin Versace sheets in his college dorm room.

Junior’s father, former NFL star Deion Sanders, widely known as “Prime Time,” tweeted a picture of his son chilling on the glitzy Versace sheets.

As a parent, I’m not criticizing Deion Sr. for buying Junior the high-end bed sheets. After all, Sanders has gone through a tough divorce with an ex-wife who appears to be a bit unstable, and, by most accounts, Sanders seems to be a devoted and responsible father.

It’s no secret that Sanders likes expensive toys and is naturally drawn to bling; it’s part of his “Prime Time” brand and there’s nothing wrong with that. My only question is this: What message is Sanders sending to Junior when it comes to practical spending, saving money, and wise purchases?

“As a young adult, even if you don’t have or earn a lot of money, the financial decisions you make today can affect your lifestyle now and for years to come,” Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC’s Community Outreach Section, told Black Enterprise magazine. “The good news is you don’t need to be a finance expert to take charge of your financial future. A few basic concepts can go a long way.”

Perhaps Prime Time has already had the financial talk with his son since Deion Sr. has earned a good sum of money from the NFL, CBS Sports and endorsement deals. He seems to be a smart self-marketer and knows how to earn a high-profile living so he could indeed be passing along his wisdom to Junior.

It’s not like Sanders can’t afford Versace sheets: He’s worth an estimated $40 million.

Sanders has earned his net worth as one of the most versatile athletes in sporting history. He played for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens, playing multiple positions such as cornerback, but also occasionally as a wide receiver, kick returner, and punt returner. In baseball, he played for the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds and the San Francisco Giants. He is currently an NFL Network analyst.

In February 2011, Deion listed two of his Dallas area homes for sale. One was listed for $7.5 million and the other for a $21 million. The $21 million mansion is 30,000 square feet and has eight bedrooms, 10-car garage, movie theater, bowling alley, basketball court and a 12-acre lake.

Still, with all of Sanders’ wealth, young adults like Deion Jr. need guidance and financial direction earlier in life these days as college, housing, cars, and life’s expenses become more costly.

Frankly, I won’t be buying my kid Versace sheets for college; cotton sheets will be just fine.

Here’s how Black Enterprise magazine broke it down:

“While everyone can benefit from learning about money management and taking a more hands-on approach with their finances, young adults — including those just starting a career or a family and others still in high school or college — have plenty to gain by learning to be smart about money, and a lot to lose by making uninformed decisions.”

Meanwhile, Deion Jr. is following in his father’s footsteps by playing football at SMU. The younger Sanders has big-time talent, according to some reports, but he will have the added pressure of living up to his father’s name. Coaches will not expect Deion Jr. to be an average player – they will expect him to be an exceptional player.

But will Junior also indulge in his father’s high-end spending habits? And, more important, should we care?

One thing is certain: Deion Jr. can rest easy in his dorm room, curled up in designer sheets while dreaming of scoring touchdowns on the SMU gridiron.

What do you think? Is Deion Sr. sending his son the wrong message? Should we care?

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