Taylor’s Arrest Doesn’t “Smudge” Saban’s Legacy
By: Larry Burton
There’s a tendency in the media to kick a man while he’s down and it’s time to finally throw a flag here for piling on. Piling on Nick Saban that is.
Writers and media talking heads are all saying how Jonathan Taylor’s arrest and dismissal from the Alabama team is a black mark on both Saban’s judgement and legacy.
Pardon my French here, but I call bullshit on this one. These are people who never took the time to really understand Saban and know why this will never be taken by him as a character flaw or mark against him. Not because Nick Saban doesn’t care what people think about him, despite the articles on that, he is human, is feeling and he does care what the media, fans and university thinks of him. But this is who Nick Saban is, he is a man of second chances himself and he isn’t going to change.
Nick came from a place and family that would have struggled to have sent him to a first class university, but he got a second chance to attend college because of football. From that, all his wealth, fame and character was enriched. He and his wife Terry spend millions of their own dollars on giving folks a second chance, be it a second chance to have a home after a tornado, or a second chance to get that college education through his namesake charity, “Nick’s Kids”.
Saban doesn’t look at people who need a second chance and wonder first what the ramifications would be if things don’t go well. He looks first at what their lives may be like if they aren’t given that second chance. Folks, that’s called being both positive and Christian and if this is a character flaw or smudge on his reputation, then it’s one he’ll continue to wear proudly.
Yes there were Alabama fans who didn’t want Taylor here. It was too easy and too much fun to make fun of Auburn for collection the majority of the thieves, thugs and criminals. They didn’t want that reputation here at Alabama. But too few know that Saban recruited Taylor since he was in high school, got to know him, his family and his high school coach and when approached by all of the above to let him have a second chance, he gave Taylor the benefit of the doubt and granted him that second chance.
But it was not a wide open invitation to join the team with arms open wide, it came with very tight conditions that many aren’t aware of, so when Taylor made another mistake, there was no need for a meeting, no need for discussion, he was gone and gone as fast as they could make the announcement.
And some want to point at Geno Smith, Alabama’s fifth year senior and heir apparent to the role of defensive backfield leader at safety who also last week went afoul after having a prior DUI and got another. Not to make light of an offense that could have resulted in a roadside death for not just Smith, but an innocent driver, but these are college students and there is no insight into what amount of alcohol Smith had taken in. Was it one beer too many or five too many? Was it a total lapse of good judgement or simply not knowing that he barely tipped the scales? These are things that Saban will take into account as he will and as he should.
But Saban and Saban alone will have the final word in what punishment will be dealt in that case. Should Saban leave Smith on the team, he is sure to take some flack, but he’s taking flack anyway for him just giving him a second chance in the first place and having the same offense repeated.
So Nick Saban will be Nick Saban and do what he feels is best for the student athlete and the well being of his team and whether his decision is right or wrong in your book, neither Nick Saban or I care. My personal opinion may not always be in line with Saban’s, but then my willingness to question his motives have never been in question. Nick Saban will do what he thinks is the right thing to do and whether you, I or the trees on Alabama’s Quad think it’s right or not doesn’t matter. I’m just glad to have a man of his character and beliefs making those decisions and I for one will always stand behind him when they’re made.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter
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