Nick Saban may be the greatest college football coach to ever put on a headset. That does not mean he is infallible. At times he exhibits the worst traits of the profession, including vilifying the media for doing their jobs.
After Alabama won the national championship — Saban’s sixth — the coach decided to dip into the ol’ authoritarian playbook by attempting to gaslight the public.
Mekhi Brown, a reserve linebacker, drew a 15-yard penalty in the third quarter after punching a Georgia player. Saban chewed him out on the sidelines, then a feisty Brown went after one of his assistant coaches.
Despite the outburst, Brown was allowed to stay in the game and later made a devastating tackle on kick coverage. Some are taking issue with the lack of discipline, wondering why the player was rewarded with more playing time.
That is not my issue here. My issue is that Saban’s comments stretch the limits of believability. Is it really possible that he didn’t either witness the incident in real time or that he hasn’t been made aware of it in the last 11 hours?
And if that truly is the case, it’s a problem as well.
Furthermore, a question about a very public physical confrontation between coach and player on the sideline is undoubtedly fair. Saban knows that his job is to address the negative along with all the positive. He just doesn’t want to do it.
No amount of winning absolves a coach from that responsibility and Saban comes off poorly in pretending otherwise.