University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban’s attempts to stay out of politics landed him in hot water after last week’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama.
Saban was excoriated as a “clueless, gutless, selfish coward” by Chuck Modiano of the New York Daily News – at a safe distance of about 1,000 miles from the home of the Crimson Tide.
Modiano said Saban was too busy preparing for a game to publicly speak out against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
“Nick Saban is not just any coach or employee,” Modiano wrote. “At over $11 million a year, he makes more money than all U.S. workers employed by a local or state government. He is a public servant who works at a public university as an alleged leader of college ‘students.’”
“These incomparable facts (about his salary) come with great public responsibility.”
The campaign should have been “Saban’s shining career moment to show true leadership and humanity,” Modiano wrote. But the coach did not measure up.
“By remaining silent on the numerous allegations that Moore was a pedophile, Saban showed he does not care about the plight or protection of young women and girls,” Modiano wrote. “By remaining silent on Moore’s romanticization of slavery, Saban showed he does not care about the plight or opinions of so many young black men who produce his unearned salary.”
“If this were just a personal failing, Saban’s cluelessness would still be astonishing” because, again, as a “taxpayer-funded influential leader of over 100 ‘student athletes,’ it is doubly amazing that Saban would not encourage civic participation with his own players on Election Day.”
Modiano then said that all players for the Miami Dolphins, once coached by Saban, are registered to vote, and that it’s Saban’s fault the state closed 31 driver’s license offices in rural “mostly black areas” and that the U.S. Department of Justice had sent a letter to the Alabama attorney general warning Alabama had “refused to comply with the National Voter Registration Act for the past 22 years.”
It’s also his fault that when he and Gus Malzahn, the Auburn coach, teamed up to cut ads promoting voter registration that the coaches at historically black colleges in the state, such as Alabama A&M and Alabama State, were not included in.
“Essentially, [Alabama’s secretary of state] followed up structural black voter suppression by replacing it with targeted white voter promotion.”
It’s also Saban’s fault that his salary is so high when it should be no more than the highest-paid professor with the remainder divided among his players, Modiano wrote.
“Not only won’t the NCAA compensate its primary revenue-generators, but it also prohibits NCAA coaches from sharing their stolen millions with them.”
But what really bugged Modiano, of course, was that Saban had not backed Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
“If NBA coaches like Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr or Stan Van Gundy (who all have spoken out against President Trump) can use their privileged status to promote justice, so can the far more influential Saban,” Modiano wrote. “If not clear before, Saban’s players now know that he doesn’t care one single iota about black lives beyond their athletic capacity to make him successful and very wealthy.”
Modiano’s final flourish is a jab at Saban’s comments that he wants America to be a better place but is not sure who is best qualified to make it so.
“No,” Modiano wrote, “You don’t want what’s best for the country. You want what’s best for yourself. No. You don’t care about the quality of life of your players. If you did, you would speak up. No, you are not unqualified to render judgment on Trump or Moore. You are simply a selfish coward.”