The college football world has been abuzz recently about the news that Nick Saban has left the Miami Dolphins to go coach the Alabama “We used to be relevant” Crimson Tide. The hiring was hailed as being apparently the second coming of a rock star, with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” (otherwise known as the reason ESPN keeps Bob Ley around) holding a special 10 am edition on Tuesday just to report the news. Upon the hiring, Saban expressed his love for college football, his desire to teach and his goal of turning the Tide around and becoming the new Bear Bryant in Tuscaloosa. Alabama fans are obviously esctatic, shouting about how they are headed back to the top of the college football world (they are not) and expressing once again that they are “the Greatest program in all the land.”
Yet what Alabama fans are surely forgetting is that lost in all of this hoopla is the fact that Nick Saban has now become Example #1 of what it means to be a liar. For WEEKS, Saban has been repeating that he would “never become the coach of Alabama.” He spoke as to how he had no interest in the job, that he would never entertain the offer and even got self-righteous in making clear that asking him the question was somehow wrong thanks to these repeated denials. Yet less than two weeks later, Saban did exactly what he said he would not……he became the coach at Bama. I have seen some in the national media excuse this behavior as simply “coach speak” and say that no one really believes what these coaches say when it comes to job talks anyway. While the latter may be true, the former is simply ridiculous. Unless we want to believe that anything any coach says is simply a falsehood, decrying an outright lie as “coach speak” seems to me to be not fair to the vast majority of coaches.
No what we have in Nick Saban is the worst kind of coach…..a huckster, sleazy, fast talker whose word means nothing. No one with any sense of loyalty or dedication to honesty would get up and act the way Saban did. Sure he needed to protect the team he was on and not distract them. So what he should have said was “I am the Coach of the Miami Dolphins. That is my priority. I have had no contact with Alabama and have no opinion on their job hunt.” That is sneaky….but it is not a lie. “I will not be the Coach at Alabama” is a lie.
Expecting coaches (and politicians) to lie is now part of the game. We laugh it off and just say “that is the way it is.” But for some reason Saban’s bothers me more…..sort of in the “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” type of way (lets see if folks are as outraged about that comment as the one about Coulter. 😉 Saban not only lied, he was self-righteous in his lie, questioning the tactics of those who ultimately were proved correct. In that way, Saban almost took coach lying to a new level…..which is amazing considering the forefathers he has in that game (insert your own sleazy coaches here). So Alabama, enjoy Nicky Saban. You have a great coach. Your program will get better. But you better not trust a word he says.