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Alabama’s Saban Not Thrilled With Question About McCarron, SI Cover

gfx - they said itNick Saban isn’t the world’s best soundbite when it comes to press conferences and media sessions.  In fact, he can be so prickly that reporters have to worry about setting him off.  He’s prone to blow a gasket over small or downright odd issues.

Yesterday’s meeting with the media provided a perfect example.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.  A reporter said he had two questions for Saban regarding that cover.  The first, “How does AJ look as a cover boy?” led Saban to interrupt… and make an ass of himself:

 

“Well, first of all, obviously, do you think I sit around all day looking at magazines or what?  I don’t even know what you’re talking about.  I mean, you ask a question every week that I don’t know anything about.  You need to come here and walk around and follow me around for like a week.  I haven’t seen a newspaper today.  I don’t know what’s happening in the world.  I watch The Weather Channel, alright, for 10 minutes in the morning while I have a cup of coffee so I know what the weather’s gonna be so we can practice inside or outside.  Alright, other than that… so I really can’t answer your question ’cause I have no knowledge of any of it.  I’m happy for AJ and I’m sure he looks great, but…”

 

Saban then belittled the reporter further by making fun of another question he’d asked, “like that’s all I’ve got to worry about.”

(Quick sidenote: Alabama fans can stop reading now.  Saban could slap a priest and Bama fans would say the priest was asking for it.  So Tide fans are not going to like the rest of this.  Best depart this post now.)

Saban is the best coach of our age and perhaps any other age as well.  He’s unmatched.  He’s driven.  He’s a perfectionist.  But he can also be a bully.

A reporter asked him a question about his star player being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  It was a silly little throw-away question, yes.  But coaches get those kind of questions all the time.  Most would know when their quarterback is on the cover of Sports Illustrated (and you can bet a man as controlling as Saban knew it about McCarron as well.)  Some coaches would have played along with such a question.  How do you think Mark Richt or Steve Spurrier would have answered, for example?  Some — who didn’t appreciate the question — would have still said, “I haven’t seen it yet.”  Only Saban would go out of his way to mock the guy asking the question.

That’s bullying.  He does it because as coach — even as a 60-something, 5-9 coach — no reporter is supposed to talk about.  The guys with the mics have to just eat it lest Saban and Alabama punish them or their paper or their station or their website by cutting access.  Personally, I think reporters should treat coaches as they themselves are treated.  If a coach is a jackass, a reporter isn’t legally bound to take it.  The coach is just a guy.  He just happens to have a million-dollar profession.  The reporter should’ve said, “There’s no need for you to be a jerk about it.”

If Saban were Joe Blow and he talked that way to someone on the street he’d likely eat a fist.  Because he’s on a riser behind a podium, well, that makes him special.  “You can’t be ugly back!  He’s the coach!”  Please.

As for Saban’s, “You should follow me around for a week” remark, the guy asking the question should have interrupted the coach and asked what time he should arrive each day.  Hey, the coach offered.  Take him up on it in front of everyone.

With so much media out there, guys are scraping for different angles and soundbites.  The McCarron question was completely harmless.  Silly, but harmless.  Saban could have brushed it off and moved on.  Instead, he chose to mock the guy’s question.  The reporter certainly showed more class in not telling Saban to sit and spin than Saban did with rambling, dismissive response.

Terrific coach.  But a jerk when he wants to be.

 


8 comments
BlackCat89
BlackCat89

I'm not sure if him flying off the handle at a stupid question if actually bullying.  That word seems to be thrown around an awful lot these days to the point that anyone who points out stupidity in others is called a bully.  If all reporters in Alabama know that Coach Saban doesn't appreciate the odd question or two, then why ask it?!?  Get to the point and ask the important questions.  I mean, if you as a reporter knows he'll take exception to your question, and you ask it anyway, aren't you the instigator of bullying?

5LittlePiggies
5LittlePiggies

All he had to say was, "I don't read magazines, but good for him.  He's earned it."  Move on and answer the next meaningless question.  I'm sorry, but being rich, famous, and/or successful does not give you the right to be a jerk.  That reporter is a man just trying to do his job, just like Saban is.  I can't stand the "I'm more important than you, quit wasting my time" attitude some (obviously more important) people have.  Proverbs says, "Humility precedes honor."  There is no honor in how he treated that reporter.  

Norton
Norton

Saban is on schedule to be the greatest coach in the history of the sport, and he can also be an absolute jerk.  But a number of great men in other fields have been jerks in the way they could people. Super achievers like Steve Jobs and John Lennon come to mind among others. Doesn't excuse anyone but that's just how it is.  Also, it's obvious some reporters know what can set him off and will deliberately try to mess with his incredible single-mindedness to produce a sound bite. Personally Saban has never  annoyed me as much as Spurrier does, but their respective fan bases have no problems with such behavior because they're winning coaches.  And the legions of fans who are so critical of Saban's behavior would change their tune in a hearbeat if he happened to wind up coaching their favorite team.  Like the old saying, "He's an S.O.B but he's our S.O.B."

bamaboyintn
bamaboyintn

once again,i agree with you. to be more specific about my jab,that was "aimed at you" was the jerk who called you on a typo about  "west" mizzou.i have to admit the response sent me "streaking fer a glass of ICED tea".listen between the lines. this guy is not 'mister innocent".he asks alot of stu---;uh irrelevant questions about our team status,relative to game prep.i also agree that somestimes he makes me "pause".they are a different breed.i have an old neighborhood school friend who played for the tide back in the seventies,that says,"BEAR was a BEAR,AND IF HE WALKED IN THIS ROOM TODAY,I WOULD NOT BE CAPABLE OF SPEAKING.(i always enjoy watching him tell that story,you CAN see the FEAR.           ps---penn state is why we don't woory so much about the priest---we're mostly southern baptists.  :):)
 

bigreb
bigreb

John, I don't always agree with you, but you are spot on in this article. Nothing else needs to be said.

bamaboyintn
bamaboyintn

i agree 100%. he can be short at times.BBBBUUUUUUTTTT; if ---IF---you know a dumb a-- question is likely to set him off,why ask it. kinda like  blog site creators who get all  JERKY  when people don,t agree 100% with his opinion of what is interesting news or not.right JOHN? for someone who shares passion,be it FOOTBALL OR SPORTS NEWS,let's just remember we ALL have good and bad days.    AND YES i am a tide fan, AND NO i was not offended by reading all of your article.     ps. this is still the only site i frequent and your welcome to check my search history ANYTIME.  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.:) 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@BlackCat89 

In front of a room full of reporters he mocked a guy's questions.  He knew the questioner would have to sit there and take it for fear of being banished by the UA administration or taken off the beat by his bosses.  That's bullying.

If he'd spoken like that to some Joe Blow on the street, he'd have gotten his 62-year-old, 5-9 rear whipped.  Which is why he wouldn't dream of talking like that to someone outside of the press conference setting.

Saban used his position to mock someone in a lesser position all because he didn't like a question.  And from day to day, reporters never know what questions will set him off.  If the guy had asked for a detailed breakdown of Alabama's preparations for Auburn -- "an important question" -- I think Saban would have gone off as well.  "You think I'm just gonna give you our gameplan?"

Personally, I don't think the question asked was "stupid," I think it was a silly attempt for a soundbite... that most coaches would have gladly responded to.  Saban did not.  And rather than just say, "I haven't seen it," he mocked the guy asking.  Jerk move.

The reporter should have said, "What makes you such a jerk, Coach?  You pop your mouth like a tough guy, but as far as I can see, you're just a football coach.  Cure cancer or build a better rocket and I'll bow before you.  Until then, I'd suggest you not get smart with me."  The reporter would have been banned from Bama, of course, but if someone talks down to me, I'm gonna return the favor.

Doesn't mean he's not the best coach in the world or a good guy when it comes to charity, etc.  Just means he can be an unnecessarily prickly guy. 

Thanks for reading the site,

John


John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@bamaboyintn 

I don't mind people disagreeing with my opinion (and I'll assume that comment was aimed at me, since it is on this site).  People disagree with my views everyday without drawing a response from me.  I do mind, however, when they a) misrepresent or downright lie about what's written and/or b) are ugly in their responses.  If someone's ugly with me, I'll be ugly back.  You get no pass because you're an anonymous poster.  Want a respectful response from me?  Be respectful in your own comments.  Kinda simple.  Treat me as you want to be treated.

As for Saban, the point is you never know what exactly will tick him off.  He goes off on a semi-regular basis... like a geyser at Yellowstone it's as if he needs to let off steam and vent every now and again.  Super coach, interesting fella.  But not always the nicest guy... especially when he uses his position to belittle some guy who makes a fraction of his own salary. 

Just my take.  And thanks for reading the site,

John

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