Yes, he’s so much more, especially to those Bama fans happy to see Saban pile up wins and national championships like cordwood in an Alabama forest. How many state employees pass a statue of themselves on their way to work? Oh, and he’s the one state employee who is better known than the state’s governor.
Still, when it comes down to it, Saban is a state employee. As such, a certain level of conduct and professionalism is expected.
During a Wednesday news conference in advance of today’s game at Texas A&M, Saban had to confront allegations that one of his former players had accepted illegal payments from sports agents while playing at Alabama. No one yet knows the reliability of the charges, which were first reported by Yahoo Sports.
Before speaking to reporters, Saban rightly anticipated that he’d face questions on the story. When he took the podium, Saban briefly mentioned the story, highlighted a previous statement by Bill Battle, the university’s athletic director, and then declared, “Don’t ask me any more questions about this.”
That’s not how this works.
We’ve arrived at a fundamental misunderstanding of a news conference. Journalists ask questions. Sources respond, though they don’t have to answer the questions. “No comment” is a standard non-answer, as are “I don’t have anything more to say” or “We’ve already covered this.”
Perhaps our governor — for the record, his name is Robert Bentley — can provide pointers to the coach. Gov. Bentley has faced his share of uncomfortable questions in office. As far as we can tell, he’s yet to storm away from reporters in a huff, though.