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Nick Saban apologizes for singling out Texas A&M and Jackson State

Photo by Kent Gidley

In one of the most chaotic days in recent memory that involved social media jabs from Deion Sanders and an emotional press conference from Jimbo Fisher, Nick Saban has finally had the opportunity to publicly respond to the hectic news day.

During an event in Birmingham Ala., on Wednesday night Saban claimed that Fisher and the Aggies had “bought every player” in its latest recruiting class, which sparked the emphatic comments from Fisher saying that he and Saban are “done.”

Saban’s response to the comments made on Thursday came during an appearance on Sirius XM ESPNU Radio where he addressed the situation with Jacob Hester and Bobby Carpenter.

“First of all, I should have never singled anybody out,” Saban said. “That was a mistake and I really apologize for that part of it.”

Although the seven-time national champion regretted naming specific programs during his answer on Wednesday, Saban held strong on his comments regarding the current state of name, image and likeness along with the collectives supporting it.

“I’m not against name, image and likeness. I think it’s a great thing for players,” Saban said. “Our players made a lot of money last year in name, image and likeness. But I told our players to get an agent, get representation, make what you can make. Players have always been able to work, and I think that’s a good thing.

“I think the issue in college athletics in general now is the whole system of collectives and people raising money to basically pay players, whether it’s to come to their school or pay the players that are on their teams. We’ve always strived in college athletics to make everything equal, make everything the same, whether it’s scholarships, whether it’s Alston money, whether it’s the cost of attendance, academic support, whether it is. And now it’s not really that way. This is happening in basketball it’s happening in football.

“I really didn’t mean to single anybody out. I apologize for that. But it’s the whole system. Is this a sustainable system? And is it really good for college football? I think name, image and likeness is good for college football. I think my role or our role is to have a program that creates value for guys’ future so they focus on getting an education, becoming better people, being a good person, learning habits that are gonna help be successful and see if they can develop a career as a football player. I think the focus now is getting a little bit more on how much money I can make where I’m playing and where can I make it, and I’m not really sure that’s good systematically for any of us.”

Saban was later asked if he had reached out to Fisher and Sanders to discuss his comments, and as Fisher stated during his own press conference the two coaches were unable to speak to one another.

“I reached out to them,” Saban said. “Never got a response. I feel bad about it, but I’m not changing my philosophy on (how) I look at the betterment of college football. What is good for the game? And sometimes those things are not what’s best for Alabama. But I’ve been doing this a long time, and my whole focus has always been how can we help players be successful.

“I don’t wanna take anything away from them, and I don’t wanna take any opportunities away from them. I just think systematically, all the guys that are transferring, it’s a crazy world out there right now, and hopefully, we can all get our heads together and make it so people can get back to focusing on what they need to do to developed while they’re in college, get and education and become better people, become better players, have a chance to play at the next level which is what we’ve always tried to create.”

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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