By NICOLAS IPARRAGUIRRE
As the college football season kicked off this past weekend, the major off-season story surrounding the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide has been the quarterback battle between junior Jalen Hurts and sophomore Tua Tagovailia. After a dominant 51-14 win over Louisville in the opening game, the prevailing story surrounding Alabama has been the behavior of Coach Nick Saban in his post-game interview.
In an interview with ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor, in which she asked about whether the game provided any answers to the ongoing quarterback battle, Saban gave an answer that drew the ire of most members of the sports media.
“I think both guys are good players. I think both guys can help our team, all right? So why do you continually try to get me to say something that doesn’t respect one of them? I’m not going to. So quit asking,” said an irate Saban to the reporter.
Following the interview, many in the sports news media expressed their disgust with Saban’s answer to a question he should have seen coming. “He may be the best coach of all time, but when he continues to treat people like that … it’s classless,” said veteran college football analyst Paul Finebaum.
Along with the news media, some experts in sports journalism also weighed in on the controversy. Following the interview, director of sports journalism at Northwestern University J.A. Adande tweeted, “It’s hard to respect Nick Saban when he won’t respect other professionals who are doing their jobs and doing their jobs well.”
Although Saban has since issued an apology, none of the coverage surrounding the incident has focused on the source of Saban’s anger. In providing a defense for the outburst, former Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri tweeted, “Love seeing Coach get animated when asked about QB’s after the game! Why he’s so great, cares for them on a personal level and respects both Jalen and Tua too much to say anything negative about either one ever!! #kingsaban.”
While Saban’s behavior was unprofessional and disrespectful towards Taylor, who asked a question that should have been expected, the root of Saban’s anger should have also been a part of the story.