You can say this for Alabama coach Nate Oats: he ain’t scared. When asked about Mike Krzyzewski’s comments from Tuesday night about how playing during a pandemic doesn’t “feel right,” Oats didn’t hesitate to take out a bazooka and fire away at college basketball’s winningest coach.
“Let me ask you something,” Oats said to WBRC’s Christina Chambers, the reporter who asked the question. “Do you think if Coach K hadn’t lost the two non-conference games at home that he’d still be saying that? [Chambers: ‘Probably not’] Okay, I just wanted you to say it, not me.”
BOOM. Oats, who had COVID back in October, called out coaches for not wearing masks properly then argued that playing the season is crucial for student-athletes’ mental health.
“I see all these other guys who haven’t had [COVID] and they have their masks down the whole game. Like they’ve got a chin strap on, so if they’re really worried about COVID, you’d think their mask would be up the whole game, right?”
“We 100% should be playing basketball,” he continued. “Humans aren’t made to sit alone in isolation for weeks and weeks on end. We’ve got to be careful about how we do life but you’ve still got to do life. A huge part of life for all these guys I’m coaching is being in the gym playing basketball. So I think their mental health is in a much better spot playing basketball and I think the school, the SEC, and the NCAA have done a really good job making sure we’re not putting them in danger. So, no, I don’t agree with them at all.”
I’m sure that will go over well in Durham.