Nick Saban and Ronnie Harrison

USA Today

Nicktator's Mission At Bama

Don’t come in here now to say that your goal is to help people.

April 12, 2019 - 1:20 pm

This year, Alabama had seven underclassmen enter the draft early, the most in his time there. And as you’d except, Nick Saban has nothing but love and excitement for them. He’s just like John Calipari, he’s happier for the players than he is for himself. He’s thrilled the the players are no longer going to be playing a violent sport for free and is excited that they’ll be able to make money that can take care of themselves and their families.


Wrong. Saban isn’t happy at all. Over the weekend, Saban said: "Now, we have guys that have no draft grades, seventh-round grades, free-agent grades, fifth-round grades that are going out of the draft. And the person that loses in that is the player."

Uh, okay. I’ll get back to that last part in a second, but let’s let Nick go for a little longer.

"If you're a third-round draft pick, and we had one here last year -- I'm not going to say any names -- goes and starts for his team, so he's making third-round money, which is not that great. He'd be the first guy taken at his position this year, probably, and make $15-18 million more.”

And there’s more: "When people make emotional decisions, they're going to have to suffer some really difficult consequences for themselves in the future. Because you don't have to go out for the draft early. You can come back and play. We've had six or seven guys here that had second- or third-round grades that became top-15 and first-round draft picks and made a significant amount of money doing that, so there's some really good examples of guys that did it that way."

How about Nick bravely and professionally saying “I’m not going to say any names” when it came to that third round pick last year. That was so decent and professional of him not to publicly bash one of his own former players who played for him for free and then had the audacity to leave early to make money.

One problem – Nick Saban isn’t going to name names because he doesn’t have to. There was only one guy who left Alabama last year who was drafted in the third round: Ronnie Harrison, who started eight games for Jacksonville.

And Ronnie heard about that and Ronnie had thoughts on Twitter:

‘Coaches get so Butt Hurt Now Days About a Kid Making a Decision to live out his dreams and Go Pro. Makes me think do you really care about the success of the kid or how well your program performs? #keepmynameoutyamouth #Bama #Saban #godgotit

Game. Set. Match. Harrison. Saban, the guy who benefits the most from elite players staying at Alabama, gets all worked up about guys leaving and then one of those guys comes right back and takes frying pan to Nick’s face.

You tell me – which part of that tweet is better. The part where he says: Makes me think do you really care about the success of the kid or how well your program performs?

Or where he hits it with a #keepmynameoutyamouth to Nick Saban, his former coach. I can’t decide, because they’re both awesome.

Never mind that the money Harrison is making as a third round pick is better than the zero money he was making at Alabama, this inconveniences Saban. Because now he has to replace a guy, rather than getting to keep him around and benefitting from him growing as a player, for free.

Is he being underpaid in the NFL because he was a third round pick? Maybe. Was he being underpaid at Alabama when he was playing for free? Most definitely.

Saban showed his colors last weekend and Harrison called him on it. And Harrison’s tweet hit Saban hard enough that he did something he rarely does. He tried to clear the air. At the end of his press conference yesterday, he said: “I’d just like to make one statement to make sure everybody understands who we are and what we do. Our whole goal in this program is to help people be more successful in life. We support every player in every decision they make, regardless of what it is.”

He continued spinning for a while longer, but I’ll jump in right there. Because it’s kind of whack: and it’s pretty hypocritical. I’d say that was trying to walk it back, but you tripped all over yourself.

You told on yourself last weekend and your former player called you out on it. And he was right. And yesterday wasn’t about owning that, it was about spinning that.

Your issue with Harrison leaving early last year wasn’t about his money, it’s about replacing Harrison last year. You’re more concerned with the problem him leaving he caused you than the problem he may have caused himself.

Don’t come in here now to say that your goal is to help people be more successful in life. It’s not. It’s to win football games at Alabama. That’s it. Anything else is a bonus.

So when you say that you support every player in every decision they make, that’s a load of garbage. Because one of your players made a decision and you bashed him for it. You called him out and you didn’t even have the decency to put his name on it.

You just took a run at one of your former players for a decision that he made. That was dirty pool. It was low rent. And he called you on it. #keepmynameoutyamouth #Bama #Saban

How about another tag: bully the media all you want, but bully a former player who did what was best for him and his family and it’s going to bite you in the ass: and it did. The media won’t hit back. Ronnie Harrison will. That went about as well for Saban as the national championship game.